Futuristic Chinese traffic-straddling bus abandoned, blocking traffic

Last summer, a seemingly cool 'straddling bus' project in China made headlines. Well, after a whole lot of hoopla and promotion it's been scrapped.

Last summer, a seemingly cool "straddling bus" project in China made headlines. The futuristic thing swooped above traffic on rails at the side and center of the road.

Well, after a whole lot of hoopla and promotion—including a happy video—it all came crashing down. Not literally, mind you, but figuratively.

The straddling bus now sits under an open-ended shed, apparently abandoned, and it hasn't run in months, according to Shanghaiist.

Down off its extended side legs, it lies gathering dust, and in fact it's now blocking traffic along one of the roads whose congestion it was meant to alleviate.

It's an ignominious end to what briefly caught the world's attention as a new and innovative way to move people above China's agonizing and intractable traffic jams.

Officially known as the Transit Elevated Bus, or TEB-1, it carried its first passengers on a stretch of street in the city of Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, in northern China.

The test got a blaze of publicity for TEBtech, its maker, though almost immediately, questions were raised about how practical the elevated bus could be.

Among the problems: the TEB-1's size. It measures 72 feet (22 meters)  long, 26 feet (7.8 meters) wide, and 16 feet (4.8 meters) tall.

That may allow sedans and hatchbacks to pass underneath, but the bus still blocked intersections—and failed to pass under the many pedestrian bridges that cross Chinese city streets, not to mention traversing tunnels under intersections.

While TEBtech hoped to deploy the bus by the end of the year, that obviously hasn't happened. And the transport departments from countries that included Brazil, France, India, and Indonesia that had supposedly indicated interest don't seem to have done much with it either.

But it may continue to block traffic for some time to come: Shanghaiist reports that TEBtech has renewed its lease to test the bus on that stretch of road for another year.

Sometimes great advances are doomed to fail.

For more details and previous stories, see our transit elevated bus news page.

This story originally appeared on MotorAuthority.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.