Photo caption: The transit elevated bus TEB-1 is on road test in Qinhuangdao, North China’s Hebei Province, Aug 2, 2016.[Photo/Xinhua]
The debut of China’s Transit Elevated Bus (TEB), or “batie”, triggered much criticism and doubts at home but has succeeded in grabbing the attention of people worldwide, including India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, according to the Times of India.
Modi has asked India’s road transport ministry to “get maximum details and explore whether such buses can be of use on highly congested roads in Indian cities,” according to the newspaper’s report on August 7.
The futuristic bus was mentioned by the Prime Minister at a meeting with India’s top officials from different ministries last week, where a presentation was made on the highway expansion proposals to improve traffic flow on important national highway corridors in the country, the report said.
The double-deck vehicle, 4.8 meters high and 7.8 meters wide, hit the road during a test drive in Qinhuangdao, North China’s Hebei province on Aug 2. It holds passengers on its upper level and allows cars less than two meters high to pass underneath.
The tested prototype, powered by electricity, has a 22-meter-long carriage and can hold up to 300 passengers. The full four-compartment version of the bus will be 60 meters long and run at an average speed of 40km/h carrying 1,200 to 1,400 passengers, according to TEB Tech’s website.
Sources quoted by the Indian newspaper said such a bus can address the need of an efficient mass transport system in Indian cities and it has the added benefit of being a non-polluting vehicle.
According to the report, Modi played a key role in the introduction of hydraulic pressure machines for tree-transplantation from Canada to India when he was the chief minister and watched the machine in a documentary.
The TEB bus was first unveiled by Chinese inventor Song Youzhou in 2010 and became a hot topic online after being displayed at the Beijing International High-tech Expo in May.
In the test last week, the bus ran for 300 meters on a specially constructed track while two lanes for cars passed undisturbed underneath.
Amid applause for its innovation, the vehicle has sparked doubts about its feasibility and safety while many believed that it is too large and heavy for Chinese roads and can’t let higher vehicles pass through, which will decrease road efficiency.
Several media outlets also reported that the company behind the project is suspected of running a peer-to-peer financing program that promised higher interest rates and faces the danger of running out of cash.
In a latest report, Zhai Wen, head of the transport division of the development and reform commission of Qinhuangdao, told China National Radio that the road test was just for tourism.
However, its creator Song Youzhou told China Daily that countries including Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Argentina had expressed interest in the buses and the company also reached agreements with several domestic cities to invest.
Song said that the TEB buses could be running on roads by the second half of 2017.