Hype over China's straddling bus dies down, as it lies abandoned in Hebei test site

The abandoned Traffic Elevated Bus, in Qinhuangdao, in northern China's Hebei province.
The abandoned Traffic Elevated Bus, in Qinhuangdao, in northern China's Hebei province.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB/ SINA

The futuristic Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) which debuted to much fanfare in early August, now sits motionless and forgotten at its test site in Qinhuangdao, in northern China's Hebei province.

The vehicle which was seen as a solution to the country's problems with traffic congestion, has not moved at all in over two months, according to Shanghaiist on Monday (Dec 5).

It sits in a worn garage, watched over by two old security guards who have probably also been forgotten.

"The managers from the company have long drifted away, and I am unable to contact them," an unidentified guard was quoted by Shanghaiist as saying.

Testing began in early August, but suddenly ceased after a few days, amid controversy that the company developing the TEB had misled investors.

 

The test run was only 300m long - less than one round around a standard running track - and failed to simulate real-life traffic conditions.

Testing was scheduled to restart in early September, with local residents participating, but it lasted just a short while before the vehicle was returned to its garage.

While the TEB is creatively designed, critics point out that only vehicles 2.1m and shorter can pass underneath. Most Chinese roads, however, allow vehicles up to 4.2m tall to travel on them.

 

The 22m-long bus may also be too heavy for roads in China, which may have sinkholes appearing, critics say.

In an emergency, passengers will somehow have to evacuate a carriage two storeys off the ground.

The vehicle currently sits in the middle of a main road in Qinhuangdao, block three lanes of traffic and leaving residents unhappy.