China’s revolutionary “straddling bus” reaches the end of the road

A Chinese company’s plan to produce a bizarre cross between a bus, a tram and a land-bound catamaran has been abandoned, according to the Chinese media.

The concept, which was developed by a company called Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), caused a global sensation when it was shown at the Beijing High-Tech Expo in April 2016. This was followed by the trialling of a prototype on a 300m test track in the city of Qinhuangdao in Hebei province.

The idea was to design a four-carriage unit that could carry up to 1,200 people, but would take up almost no road space. It seemed for a time that some of China’s local government bodies would take on the plan by making fabrication and testing facilities available, and there were reports that the city of Zhoukou in Henan province might set up a commercial service.

At the same time, there were reports in the Chinese press that the TEB was really intended as a ride for tourists rather than a serious mass-transport system. And some commuters who tried out the prototype were distinctly underwhelmed. One of those, a man called Dong Xin, told China Daily in August last year that the TEB ran slowly for 50m, and he was too hot as the air-conditioning system was not turned on.

All of these plans have now come to nought and the first "TEB-way" Qinhuangdao is being dismantled. Among the problems the elevated bus faced was how it interact with other vehicles and the normal features of a city, such as low bridges.

Willem Coppens commented on GCR’s original story "A very smart system indeed, but what about vans, lorries and trucks on the tracks?" Another poster asked how it would make turns and deal with cars fitted with roof-racks.

Image: The TEB is no more, but the problem still remains (Xinhua)

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