The dream is now over with the city of Qinhuangdao finally deciding to tear up the test track of China’s once vaunted “straddling bus.”
Back in the more optimistic summer of 2016, the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB) made its high-profile public debut on a 300-meter-long test track built in the outskirts of the Hebei city, capturing headlines around the globe. Touted as the “future of public transportation,” the TEB was designed as an innovative solution to China’s public transportation woes, with carriages that would glide above the road while traffic passes conveniently underneath.
However, soon after making its debut, things started to go downhill for this modern marvel. The project was promptly labeled a big, fat scam by Chinese state media with reports detailing how Huaying Kailai, the parent company of TEB Tech, had raised billions of yuan in funding through peer to peer (P2P) investing, but had only spent less than 200 million yuan on the project itself. Further investigation revealed a slew of broken contracts and promises. The “straddling bus” was soon locked up, all testing was stopped and investors began asking for their money back.
By the end of last year, the TEB was found to be sitting in the garage gathering dust and blocking traffic, not having moved in months with the project running out of cash. Even the two security guards assigned to protect the bus said that they had been forgotten about by the company.
Now, the government of Qinghuangdao is reportedly not planning on extending the TEB developer’s land contract for the test track with that contract scheduled to expire in July. Wasting no time, workers have already begun demolishing the track as the “straddling bus” sits in its garage nearby, awaiting its fate.
Goodnight, sweet prince. You were too good for this world anyway.
[Images via China News Service]
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