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[Video] China Takes Its Straddling Bus for a Test Drive

In the world’s largest metropolises, road congestion has always been a tough nut to crack for local governments, which usually attempt to remedy the situation by either banning vehicles or moving traffic underground or overhead. A team of Chinese engineers, however, had a different idea: transport people above ground, but not too far above ground.

This week, China’s bizarre “straddling bus” hit the road for the first time on a test run in Qinhuangdao, a town in China’s Hebei province, six years after its design was first introduced. Each passenger cabin is 22 meters long and 7.8 meters wide, housing as many as 300 passengers at once, reports the Telegraph.

The bus system, formally named the Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), consists of a rail track on the ground and up to four elevated passenger cabins that pan two lanes above the road with an empty “tunnel” below allowing traffic to pass through, according to TiME.

The test drive was conducted on a 300-meter-long controlled track without traffic. Therefore, it remains to be seen how the bus will function on real Chinese streets. However, the team behind the bus design was optimistic about its future prospect.

“The biggest advantage is that the bus will save a lot of road space,” Song Youzhou, the project’s chief engineer told Xinhua earlier this year. Song also believed that besides being cheaper to produce than underground trains, TEBs could also be implemented faster as supporting infrastructure is easier to construct.

When installed, each TEB bus could replace about 40 conventional buses, reducing up to 30% of traffic congestion in cities, Song claimed. The system also uses electricity and solar power, thus saving more than 800 tons of fuel.

Have a peek at China's elusive “straddling bus” below:

[Photo via Engadget, Video via YouTube user BoredPandaArt]

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