Suburban Jiading district, as well as Changning district, which houses Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, are among the many prospective bidders to clinch the first deal with Air Train International, the manufacturer of the floating train system, according to its chairman Chen Changgui.
Many local governments are considering having the project installed, in a bid to contain growing traffic jams and bridge remote neighborhoods with the nearest public transportation facilities, Chen said during the first China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair, which kicked off on Wednesday.
Officials from Tianjin and Luoyang are also seriously considering similar projects in Henan province to ease heavy traffic.
With the metro clocking in at around 8.486 million passengers a day, Shanghai has been planning new projects to lighten the load, especially during rush hours. In April, Shanghai Metro officials announced that lines 3 and 4 would be split in 2015 in an attempt to relieve overcrowded commutes.
The monorail trains are driverless passenger cars positioned around nine meters above ground, monitored from a separate control center. The trains can go up to 50 km/h and potentially hold 15,000 passengers per hour.
Chen believes the system will be most helpful in areas with densely populated office buildings, where
“demands to reach the nearest subway stations are huge” one fears for one’s own life while attempting to maneuver through the swarming commuters.
The monorail train is also a much more cost-friendly alternative to the subway system.
“The new facility edges out alternative means of transportation in cost efficiency, Chen noted. It takes about 150 million yuan ($24.4 million) to build 1 kilometer of suspended monorail, which is about one quarter of the cost needed to build the same length of subway”.
What’s more, the monorail system is promised to be safe, unobtrusive, capable of handling all types of weather, and will float along as quiet as a butterfly.
The floating train system has been successfully implemented in Japan and Germany, with Germany’s maiden monorail tour taking off in 1984 at Dortmund University.
So the real question is, why hasn’t this happened sooner? Monorail 2015! Sing it with me: