The Chinese bus causing an internet storm

A new public transportation idea from China has been setting social media sites and blogs ablaze over the past few days after its debut in Beijing back in May.

The "3D fast bus," better described as the "straddling bus," is effectively a bus catamaran, anchored to opposing sides of the roads so that normal vehicles can pass underneath it.

Passengers board the upper level using raised platforms at stations (much like light rail systems), while cars lower than 2 meters high can zip underneath unimpeded, reportedly reducing jams by 20-30 percent.

The advantages are obvious - it requires far less building than a light rail or subway system, it's unaffected by congestion, it doesn't impede traffic and, as it's powered by solar or electric cabling, it's pretty green.

However, the futuristic-looking bus also has some negative points - passengers sit on a bus moving at up to 60 km/h, which travels above cars that aren't controlled, so one wayward driver could cause a terrible accident (and the bus carries 1,200 people).

The straddling bus is also totally unsuited to older, built-up cities, where cramped intersections would make cornering the huge vehicle impossible.

Online, the idea has generated considerable buzz - the New York Times Wheels blog said that the idea had "some big advantages - even if images of traffic zooming through the girderlike legs of the “straddling bus” suggest a potential for exquisite catastrophe," while tech blog Engadget said that the "cunning project... actually makes sense."

On China Hush, which posted a translation of the presentation from Shenzhen Hashi Future Parking Equipment chairman Song Youzhou, readers were more dismissive.

"This is the craziest transportation device I’ve seen to date. By far," said one reader.

"It’s a beautiful design, but given the experiences I’ve had while travelling in Beijing and other cities… lanes are pretty much non-existent, so I failed to see how this could work in such an environment," said another.

For the moment it looks like the internet will have to wait and see what becomes of the "3D fast bus" - construction is set to begin on 168 kilometers of track in Beijing's Mentougou district by the end of the year.

See the presentation (Chinese): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQxP_un15iQ

NYT Wheels - http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/riding-high-a-chinese-concept-for-bus-transit/

Engadget - http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/02/china-to-build-ginormous-buses-that-cars-can-drive-under-video/

China Hush - http://www.chinahush.com/2010/07/31/straddling-bus-a-cheaper-greener-and-faster-alternative-to-commute/

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor