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China’s crazy elevated bus hits the road

by Jacob Kleinman | August 7, 2016August 7, 2016 9:00 am PST

For the past few months, a concept video has been floating around the internet showing a massive futuristic bus that can glide over traffic. It may look like a sci-fi fantasy, but now the elevated bus is ready to begin testing in China.

A video from CCTV News shows the elevated bus make its inaugural test with a big red bow tied across the front to celebrate the occasion. The bus reportedly traveled down the road and cars were able to successfully travel underneath in what looks like a controlled environment. How the new bus performs in actual traffic remains to be seen.

The elevated bus covers two lanes of traffic with a clearance of 2.1 meters (almost seven feet) underneath. It can carry up to 300 people and the inside appears to mostly be standing room with a row of seats along the left and right side.

There are a few notable differences between the working bus and the concept that was unveiled earlier this year. Passengers boarded the vehicle from elevated platforms, rather than the automated ramps included in the original design. The underside of the bus features two rows of lights, but it’s missing the mural of a sky featured in earlier concepts.

Those are small details, though, and they could be added to the bus design before mass production begins. For now, the goal is to see if this elevated bus can really function on the road. If it works each new model could replace 40 regular buses, dramatically reducing air pollution and energy costs while also helping to alleviate traffic in China and beyond.

CCTV (Twitter) ABC China Xinhua News (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...