China’s long-awaited ‘straddling bus’ received its inaugural test run in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province this week.
The Transit Elevated Bus, to give it its official title, is designed to help combat gridlock by letting passengers soar over the tops of cars on the increasingly-congested roads of China’s major cities.
The test run was conducted on a 300 metre-long controlled track, separate from road traffic. Each 72-foot-long vehicle can carry up to 300 passengers, and up to four TEB cars can be linked together – although only one was used for its first public outing.
“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” said Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer, in an interview with news agency Xinhua earlier this year.
Song claimed that, as well as being cheaper to produce than underground trains, the TEB could be rolled out far more quickly thanks to the relative simplicity of supporting infrastructure.
An earlier version of the TEB was first unveiled in 2010, when Song Youzhou suggested that it could reduce traffic congestion in cities by as much as 30 per cent.
Vehicles can pass underneath the bus whether it is moving or stationary, according to the designs, and it is powered purely by electricity.
Each bus would replace about 40 conventional buses, Song claims, saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel.