World

CHINA – To help encounter its increasingly-congested roads, China has launched its unique ‘straddling bus’, which underwent its inaugural test run in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province this week.

The test run was conducted on a 300 meter-long controlled track, separate from road traffic. Each 72-foot-long vehicle can carry up to 300 passengers, and up to four of the elevated bus cars can be linked together – although only one was used for its first public outing.

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“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save lots of road space,” said Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer, in an interview with news agency Xinhua earlier this year.

Pictures show a spacious interior that is over 72 feet long 25 feet wide, as well as beaming passengers gazing out the window. It’s roughly 16 feet tall, and offers about 7 feet of space underneath for cars to travel through. The bus, which can carry up to 300 passengers, rides along tracks embedded in the street.

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Vehicles can pass underneath the bus whether it is moving or stationary, according to the designs, and it is powered purely by electricity.

Each bus would replace about 40 conventional buses, Song claims, saving more than 800 tonnes of fuel.