China's "straddling bus" now lies abandoned in the middle of the road

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Back in August, reports surfaced that China’s straddling bus/train had finally completed its initial road test in Qinhuangdao City, marking the first step toward a public rollout. Sadly, as is so often the case these days, the reality hasn’t matched the hype; the vehicle now stands abandoned in the middle of a Hebei city road.

After being stuck in the concept phase for years, the Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) looked set to become a part of public transport when the testing phase was announced in Summer. But it seems the company behind the vehicle was hiding a few facts.

Firstly, the test run didn’t replicate real traffic conditions - Qinhuangdao city officials weren’t even aware it took place. The firm later admitted that it wasn’t actually a “road test,” but part of “internal testing.”

There were also questions over how certain vehicles would pass under the TEB. With just under 7 feet of clearance, trucks and traditional buses would face problems when encountering the straddling "bus", which, as it runs on tracks, is actually a train.

The project has also been marred by accusations of illegal crowdfunding and that it scammed investors, many of whom have pulled out and are demanding their money back.

Despite all the negative publicity, more TEB testing was announced in September. But according to the Shanghaiist, a local reporter who went to check up on the vehicle found it in a rusted barn in the middle of the road, watched by a pair of elderly security guards who had also been forgotten. "The managers from the company have long drifted away, and I am unable to contact them," said one.

The bad news for locals is that the road the TEB currently blocks was leased to the company by the city, and the contract won’t be up for renewal until August 2017.

It may have seemed like a potentially good idea at one point but, after so many years in development, the straddling bus is now dead and buried.

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Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
Well that is sad news, because it really sounds cool. The road infrastructure would need a revamp also to allow buses and trucks to work on different routes or an additional exclusive road, although with the limited space they have sounds a bit too much.

Hope it gets another round =)
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Looks like a staged picture - there are people standing on the road in front.

I can't believe this even got built. It's on rails and can't pass over a truck. I don't see how any sort of benefit could get around that. Presumably this would allow people to travel down a road that was gridlocked with traffic. But 1 truck would make them just as stuck as everyone else. Looks like they didn't figure this out until they tried it.
 

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
China is currently trying to build anything and everything in hopes of getting ahead of the West. With their population beginning to peak with retiree's they have about 3 more years before they see real financial difficulties. Their one child program was a failure and they now realize they will need more young people to pay for the old folks ..... sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it?
 
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Bigtruckseries

TS Evangelist
This would be the ultimate coast to cost travel option if America had them running from Maine to Washington and California to Florida. 3 stops per state.

200 MPH
 

Bigtruckseries

TS Evangelist
Looks like a staged picture - there are people standing on the road in front.

I can't believe this even got built. It's on rails and can't pass over a truck. I don't see how any sort of benefit could get around that. Presumably this would allow people to travel down a road that was gridlocked with traffic. But 1 truck would make them just as stuck as everyone else. Looks like they didn't figure this out until they tried it.

The absolute best method of ground transport is the bus. Yes it's slower, but its routes can be changed easily - unlike trains.

Buses make more sense than light rails and are far more economical.

I've driven the roads in China (Shanghai to Hang Zhou and Su Zhou). This would be perfect on those wide-open country roads so long as they make it taller to get past busses and trucks.
 
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alexnode

TS Enthusiast
It's a good idea in principle but might be a problem when cars need to turn. You will need traffic lights for every exit or to exit through tunnels (expensive). I like the idea though.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
The absolute best method of ground transport is the bus. Yes it's slower, but its routes can be changed easily - unlike trains.

Buses make more sense than light rails and are far more economical.

I've driven the roads in China (Shanghai to Hang Zhou and Su Zhou). This would be perfect on those wide-open country roads so long as they make it taller to get past busses and trucks.
But this bus runs on rails like a train - how can they change routes easily?
 
J

Jibberish18

This may sound stupid but can you imagine how it may screw up drivers to have a big behemoth pass over them while they're driving? I'd imagine it may cause an accident or two.
 
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Capaill

TS Evangelist
With the amount of space it takes up on either side, they could surely just add a dedicated bus lane.
 

Reehahs

TS Guru
The absolute best method of ground transport is the bus. Yes it's slower, but its routes can be changed easily - unlike trains.

Buses make more sense than light rails and are far more economical.

I've driven the roads in China (Shanghai to Hang Zhou and Su Zhou). This would be perfect on those wide-open country roads so long as they make it taller to get past busses and trucks.
But this bus runs on rails like a train - how can they change routes easily?
It looks like a mix of rails and tyres, to give some flexibility. If it was purely rails then the rail wheels would have to be much larger.
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
....[ ]....I've driven the roads in China (Shanghai to Hang Zhou and Su Zhou). This would be perfect on those wide-open country roads so long as they make it taller to get past busses and trucks.
Yeah but, that thing isn't even close to acceptable lane width and height to pass a semi. We have some low bridges in the area, and every once in a while you'll see a tractor trailer under them.

A some point, you have to wonder how many stories the passengers would be willing to climb to get on the damned thing. When you take into consideration buses cater to the elderly, the handicapped, and even people with bicycles, storage of wheelchairs and the like becomes a genuine issue.. So, every bus stop would need an elevator and a loading platform.

This is more bullsh!t like that Dutch nonsense of the "semi-electric semi trailer" with pantographs.(*) Besides, the wider and longer you make a vehicle, the wider its turning radius, no exceptions. So that effectively kills the idea for existing city streets, and it certainly would never replace the common bus or trolley. Unless of course you decided to put a locomotive turntable in the middle of every intersection.

All of this is pointing toward a completely impractical monstrosity. But the techies, who think every new idea is a great idea, will be cheering for this. If you were to turn that piece of crap upside down, and fly over it, it would look like the money pit it actually is.

(*) Nobody ever seemed to take into consideration that you'd have to electrify the entire country's highway system, you couldn't change lanes without starting up the diesel engine, and the massive extra weight of the electric motors would cut heavily into the cargo carrying capacity.
 
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captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
When I lived in Shanghai I was in a 6 story apartment with no elevator. Yeah, they'll climb it.
I assume that's intended to be at once informative, profound, and pragmatic, yet still not address any of my other concerns.

First, ATM, it has only 7 feet of clearance. I don't even think the cars going under it are drawn to scale. More importantly, if you plan to have a two way transport system, you need to double all the lane requirements. In most urban areas, the means the tracks for that monstrosity, would be dead up against the store windows.

The only possible advantage I can see to that thing, is if somebody were to double park, blocking its tracks, at least the rest of the traffic would be able to continue on.

However, were somebody to wrap a tractor trailer, or perhaps even a car around that monstrosity on a highway, nobody would be going anywhere for days.

I could go on, chapter and verse for pages as to why I believe that's the stupidest idea for mas transit I've ever seen. However, it would conflict with the hipster and tech groupie's belief systems so profoundly, I'll leave it at what I've said thus far.