By George, they did it! Well, they’re gonna do it.
When it first made headlines, China’s proposed elevated buses were dismissed and laughed at by critics who didn’t see how the transit system could possibly work. Designed as a stiff, straight line, the feasibility of turning and maneuvering through Hong Kong’s highest-traffic areas seemed like a dream, but today in Qinhuangdao City, start-and-stop tests began on the first Transit Elevated Bus model, called TEB-1. Not only is the transit system supposed to tower over everyday traffic, forming tunnels underneath with which drivers can pass through — it’s completely powered by electricity. Known affectionately as the “straddle bus,” recent concerns have only driven the creators behind the project forward in an effort to prove all naysayers wrong.
Guests and the media were reportedly invited to explore the interior of the bus as well, which might have been pretty impressive. The whole thing is 72 feet long and 25 feet wide — it can carry up to 300 passengers, and when it opens, it is projected to travel at 40 miles per hour, making for one heck of a speedy commute. The spacious interior bares enough room for rush hour, with plenty of seats and floor space, giving i a strange aesthetic that crosses between a subway and a ferry boat.
Engineers and transit officials in China have been working hard to promote and grow the public transit system using natural energy, to fight the historic pollution levels felt throughout the country. Back in 2015, tests began for their first self-driving buses, though development on that has been fairly moderate so far.
Photos via China Xinhua News on Twitter