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.