China’s once-celebrated Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) has been left abandoned in the middle of a Hebei city road, not having moved once in over two months. Originally touted as the futuristic solution to urban traffic jams, the “straddling bus” is currently causing them.
A local reporter recently checked up on “the future of public transportation” at its testing site in Qinhuangdao, only to find it forgotten in a rusted garage, covered in dust. The bus is currently being looked after by a pair of old security guards who reluctantly admit that they’ve been forgotten about as well.
“The managers from the company have long drifted away, and I am unable to contact them,” said an unidentified guard.
This is quite the reversal from early August when the TEB made its first “test-run” to much fanfare and media coverage on a tiny 300-meter-long strip of road in Qinhuangdao. Unfortunately, testing was abruptly stopped only a few days later after Chinese state media labeled the “straddling bus” a big, fat scam. Nervous investors soon began asking for their money back and public criticism started to far outweigh the positive hype that the headline-catching project once enjoyed.
In early September, it was announced that the TEB would begin testing again, and local residents were invited to take part. However, that arrangement doesn’t seem to have lasted very long and the “straddling bus” has since returned to its garage.
Despite its innovative design, critics have pointed out a few flaws with the “straddling bus.” For example, only vehicles that are no more than 2.1 meters in height can pass freely underneath the bus, yet vehicles of up to 4.2 meters in height are allowed on most Chinese roads.
A few other concerns include that the 22-meter-long bus may be too heavy and cumbersome for roads in China, which have fallen victim to sinkholes in the past. Also, in the event of an emergency, passengers will be forced to escape from the carriage while suspended two stories above the ground.
But as much as TEB Tech may want everyone to forget about the “straddling bus,” it simply refuses to die, living on now as a local traffic nuisance.
To test its invention, the company actually leased part of a city road in Qinhuangdao. Since the bus now remains exactly where it was abandoned , it continues to block three lanes of traffic, annoying residents to no end.
“No one has done anything with it in over two months. It still hasn’t been dismantled,” said local resident Chen Peng. “Give us back our road so we can pass through.”
Unfortunately, locals won’t be able to get rid of the “straddling bus” so easily.
The lease for the 300-meter-long test track was set to expire on August 31st; however, in September TEB Tech deputy manager and spokesperson Li Nancang confirmed that the lease had been extended for another year.
With one foot in the grave, it looks like the “straddling bus” finally lives up to its name.
— Shanghaiist.com (@shanghaiist) August 3, 2016
By Charles Liu
[Images via NetEase]
Follow Shanghaiist on WeChat