China’s Futuristic Straddling Bus Gathers Dust, As It Gets Abandoned By Investors
China’s “straddling bus” touted as the futuristic solution to urban traffic jams has hit a major roadblock, according to a recent report from Chinese news outlet The Paper (via Fortune). The full-scale test model of the bus has been left abandoned on the 300-meter test track of Qinhuangdao city, Hebei province. Apparently, Transit Explore Bus, the company developing the Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) has also left the project.
According to a translation by Shanghaiist, a guard said that “The managers from the company have long drifted away, and I am unable to contact them.”
The TEB was described as a revolution in public ground transportation when it was showcased as a prototype at the Beijing International High-Tech Expo in May. The vehicle was intended to carry passengers above road traffic, to help reduce congestion and vehicle emissions – a growing problem in China.
Apparently, investors who funded the construction and initial testing of the TEB have decided that they’ve already blown enough of their money, and are unwilling to invest any more. It is alleged that construction work on the company’s first factory hadn’t started. In fact, it hadn’t even obtained permission to develop the land. Investors soon began asking for their money back, and TEB parent company Huaying Group found itself in dire financial straits. Further, there are some who are claiming that TEB was running a scam to escape with money from its investors.
But, Song Youzhou, creator of the “straddling bus” and TEB Technology chief engineer, has remained defiant, calling reports of his invention’s demise mere “rumors.”
Whether or not those claims are true remains to be seen, but what’s becoming increasingly certain is that China’s once-celebrated straddling bus won’t become a reality anytime soon.