The Incredible Straddling Bus in China is Now a Reality

In the world of amazing tech news, phone launches aren’t as path-breaking as something on a much larger scale. Sure we’ve seen some wonderful innovations by phone companies over the years, but a phone is a personal device. Benefiting just one person – its user. So when you hear about incredible transportation methods being implemented in the world – it’s time to step back and take a close look. Yes, we’re talking about the astounding Straddling Bus from China.

Image Courtesy: China Xhinua News
Image Courtesy: China Xhinua News

I had first heard about this innovative idea in 2010, thanks to social media and instant messaging. People saw the video that was uploaded and started sharing like crazy. Why wouldn’t they, it was a bus carrying people and moving above cars. ICYMI, here’s the original video with a computerized English translation –

After the initial launch in 2010, it was unveiled again at Beijing’s 19th International High-Tech Expo. It’s named the TEB-1, or Transit Elevated Bus, which is designed by a Chinese firm to mainly tackle traffic and air pollution woes of its major cities. Similar ideas can be implemented elsewhere in the world too, but it’ll be interesting to see how this project moves ahead in China. Bai Zhiming, engineer in charge of the TEB project was enthusiastic about the project when he said –

With a carrying capacity of 1,200 people at a time, the TEB has the same functions as the subway while its cost of construction is less than one fifth that of the subway.

The Chinese aren’t laggards when it comes to executing projects. We’ve seen jaw-dropping videos from the land of the Dragon about them building a 15 storey hotel in 6 days and a 57 storey skyscraper in a mere 19 days. That’s one major area where a country like India will find it much harder to compete. But if this model succeeds in China, India should also look at similar implementations here. It’s not as expensive as building metros, and neither does it require a whole lot of time to execute. Let’s put a smile on our people’s faces too, shall we?!

Image Courtesy: China Xhinua News
Image Courtesy: China Xhinua News

It’s also worth noting that it’s not the first time an innovative idea like this has been used for public transport. Bogota (yes, Narcos fans, the same Bogota) had implemented a dedicated bus lane for their 8 million populous. The mass transit bus system, called the TransMilenio, has managed to transform the city from one of the worst in terms of public transport, to one of the best.

The system in Bogotá, in the whole seven corridors, is moving 2.4 million passengers every day in 112 kilometers (70 miles). – Dario Hidalgo, with the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities.

However, the solution implemented in Bogota wasn’t a high-tech one, like the Chinese have pulled off. I mean when have we ever seen an escape plan for buses that resemble those of passenger aircraft’s? It’s no mean feat and perhaps a continued push in innovative thinking with the help of Science & Technology can lead us to our ultimate dream. A self-sustaining megacity where public transportation is not on the road and everything is easily accessible.

Hey, I actually remember watching an impressive video about just this. It was called the Venus Project. And here’s hoping that we can see something like this take shape in the next decade. Or two.

ALSO READ: 4 Apps for Avoiding Real-Time Traffic and Learning Efficient Routes

Chaitanya Tapase

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