The Chinese elevated bus has been all over social media in the past couple of months and based on the short video clip using graphics, it looks like the concept would be the solution to the traffic problem not only in China but in other progressive countries of the world.
Officially called as the Transit Elevated Bus or TEB, its concept involves a guided bus that straddles above road traffic, which ultimately gave it alternative names such as straddling bus, straddle bus, land airbus, or tunnel bus by the international media.
Apparently, it was a concept from way back in 2009. A trial was scheduled to begin in Beijing’s Mentougoug District by late 2010 but the project was not given authorization by the district authorities as the technology was considered too immature then.
The district authorities also encouraged the developers to subject the concept to further trials to prove that the system really works.
At the time of the 2016 unveiling of the scale model of the TEB, it was reported that a prototype would be deployed in 2016 in the City of Qinhuangdao.
In addition to Qinhuangdao, four other Chinese cities including Nanyang, Shenyang, Tianjin, and Zhoukou have also signed contracts for pilot projects involving the construction of test tracks for TEB in 2016.
When a 300-meter test for a prototype design of the TEB was held in Qinhuangdao in August last year, instead of generating excitement and enthusiasm, it was heavily criticized and was even called as a scam by the Chinese state media, which forced the Chinese government to abandon the concept last month, notes the Daily Mail of UK.
A money-making scam
Chinese state media has described the Transit Elevated Bus as a complete money-making scam.
In addition to safety concerns, the media also claimed that the road test for the TEB never actually happened in Qinhuangdao.
The government of Qinhuangdao has also claimed that they were unaware of the test which took place in the first week of August.
The denial of the Qinhuangdao district government appeared contrary to the footage released online by the state media of the test in the Chinese city.
Both the state media and the public have started questioning the viability of the TEB citing, in particular, whether the bus is even tall enough to allow traffic to pass under it.
The test really happened
Video footage from the test that supposedly happened on August 2 showed the bus standing some two meters above the road running for 300 meters on a specially constructed track while two lanes of cars passed underneath.
The 72-feet-long, 25-feet-wide and 15.7-feet-high TEB-1 can carry up to 300 passengers over the top of cars and let traffic pass underneath it.
The idea is that passengers sit far above other vehicles on the road, allowing cars to pass underneath.
The test in Qinhuangdao also evaluated the braking system, drag and power consumption, according to Tebtech, a company that helped build the TEB.
The project was funded by peer-to-peer lending, a model where online companies match investors with borrowers who promise a high interest in return for those who invest. This has caused Chinese media to label the project a money-making scam.
One Chinese media outlet went one step further claiming that the head of the project only has a primary school education.
The plausibility of the project was also put in the spotlight as people began to question if the bus was even tall enough to pass over traffic.
The height limit for Chinese vehicles on the road is 14 feet or 13 feet depending on what type of road it is. However, the maximum height limit for the bus is just under 7 feet.
A video of a mini-model of the vehicle caused great excitement when it was released in May last year.
The trial run was conducted on a 300-meter-long controlled track in the northeastern city of Qinhuangdao.
The TEB is expected to reach speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour, running on rails laid along ordinary roads. Up to four TEBs can be linked together, reports BBC.