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China tests straddle bus that allows cars to pass beneath it

world Updated: Aug 03, 2016 15:21 IST
straddle bus

Cars travel below the Transit Elevated Bus TEB-1 during its test run in Qinhuangdao, north China's Hebei Province. (AP Photo)

China conducted a test runs of its Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), a revolutionary straddle design that lets cars drive underneath the vehicle, in Qinhuangdao in Hebei province on Tuesday.

The TEB-1 is powered by electricity, is 22-meter-long and 7.8-meter-wide, saving on road space and reducing air pollution. It has a capacity of up to 1,400 passengers.

Running along special tracks, the bus travels at a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour, the state-run People’s Daily reported.

The passenger compartment of this futuristic public bus rises far above other vehicles on the road, allowing cars to pass underneath.

The inside of the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB). The straddle bus is 72-feet-long and 25-feet-wide, and is powered by electricity. It is designed to go over the normal traffic and help ease congestion without having to dig new tunnels or build elevated rail tracks. (AP Photo)

The design of the bus made global headlines when it was released in May this year by a Chinese firm.

Also known as a land airbus, it was the brainchild of the Beijing-based Transit Explore Bus.

The passenger compartment spans two traffic lanes and sits high above the road surface on a pair of stilts, leaving the road clear for ordinary cars to pass underneath.

Regardless of whether the bus is moving or not, cars under two meters high can easily pass through.

A model of an innovative street-straddling bus after a test run in Qinhuangdao, Hebei Province, China. The test bus currently consists of one segment, and is capable of carrying 300 people, according to local media. (Reuters Photo)

“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” Song Youzhou, chief engineer of the straddling bus project told state-run Xinhua news agency in May this year.

He added that the bus has the similar function of the subway, but its cost is only 16% of the subway. The manufacturing and construction lead-time is also much shorter.

Furthermore, the design is environmentally friendly.

Powered by electricity, the straddling bus could replace about 40 conventional buses, potentially saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel annually and reducing 2,480 tonnes of carbon emissions, Song said.

Some Chinese cities have shown interest in the invention.