Re: Snake Oil
The vacuuming process for any pod need not take much time at all. No need for it to ever leave the tube.
Consider if it works more like the London Underground on the stations where they have barriers and doors to stop people falling or jumping onto the track. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-Pec4GvDwQ ) for example
The pods door aligns with a platforn door, the platform extends a boom onto the pod and the door can open into normal atmosphere. It could easily be the similar to the ingress exits used for jumbos at airports.
Slow the acceleration and it would be easy enough to have straight regular tube seating.
No need to evacuate the whole system for maintenance either. Each section just needs a doors that can seal off a section. Would be simple enough to add sensors to automatically shut doors and stop trains at the next emergency exit door.