took its first test run on Tuesday
By Andrew J . Hawkins
Last May, pictures of a weird, elevated bus that glides above traffic began circulating on the internet. Predictably, everyone freaked out. The so-called “straddling bus” was held up as a solution to China’s notorious traffic problems, but all anyone wanted to talk about was how it looked like the bus was eating cars, or how insane anyone would have to be to actually drive underneath.
Thankfully, the Chinese company that designed the bus has answered the internet’s prayers by actually building one. According to China’s Xinhua News, the TEB-1, or Transit Elevated Bus, took its first test ride Tuesday in the northeastern city of Qinhuangdao, in the Hebei province.
Pictures show a spacious interior that is over 72-feet long and 25-feet wide, as well as beaming passengers gazing out the window. It’s roughly 16-feet tall, and offers about 7 feet of space underneath for cars to travel through. The bus, which can carry up to 300 passengers, rides along tracks embedded in the street.
The bus was first unveiled in 2010, and then again last May at Beijing’s 19th International High-Tech Expo. Song Youzhou, the designer of the bus, says prototypes are being constructed, and that five cities — Nanyang, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang, Tianjin, and Zhoukou — have signed contracts with his TEB Technology Development Company for pilot projects.
Of course, many questions remain about the feasibility of the straddling bus, most importantly how it won’t cause many, many traffic deaths. The prototype that was launched in Qinhuangdao this week will hopefully help answer some of those concerns.