For years, China has been experimenting with the concept of an elevated bus that would navigate roadways while leaving room below for other vehicles to pass under it. That concept has been abandoned entirely, according to a report from the Shanghaiist.
The Traffic Elevated Bus (TEB) exited the concept phase and looked as though it was on the way to being on the road earlier this year, when testing was announced for the massive transit vehicle.
However, when a local reporter went to the streets of Qinhuangdao in the country’s northern Hebei province check in on how the test was going, they found the TEB was abandoned in the middle of the road.
The planned mass transit vehicle, which was touted by the manufacturer as "the future of public transportation," was reportedly covered in dust and sitting in a rusted garage structure. Two security guards were accompanying the vehicle, though both had apparently been forgotten, too; one of the guards told the reporter they were unable to contact the company.
The 72-foot long TEB was designed to carry up to 300 passengers and sit about seven feet off the ground so cars could pass under it. The company behind it announced the city of Qinhuangdao would act as a test site, where the company planned to use a short strip of road to show off the bus.
Just shortly after the tests began, China’s state media accused the project of being a scam designed to soak up money from investors and crowdfunding efforts. Funding for the project started to dry up and existing investors began asking for their money back.
Despite the bad press, the creators of the bus announced additional testing in September , inviting residents of the city to participate. Just a few months later, the bus has been left for dead. It’s entirely abandoned in a garage with the people behind the project nowhere to be found.
In perhaps the greatest irony of the entire situation, the bus—designed to help alleviate congestion on the roadways—is now blocking traffic. The three-lane road the company leased from the city for its tests has been left unusable to residents of Qinhuangdao. The lease is in place through August 2017.