Mourn­ing the demise of the el­e­vated bus

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO -

So the “strad­dling bus” has bit­ten the dust.

What seemed to be a way of rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing pub­lic trans­port and re­solv­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion in ma­jor ur­ban cen­ters is now no more due to a lack of fund­ing, with the test track in the city of Qin­huang­dao, He­bei prov­ince, be­ing de­mol­ished.

The ve­hi­cle, known as the Tran­sit El­e­vated Bus, had been touted as a whole new means of pub­lic trans­port, able to glide over traf­fic, and rais­ing com­muters above the daily grind of be­ing stuck in traf­fic jams for hours.

There were le­git­i­mate con­cerns about the fea­si­bil­ity of

This Day, That Year

Item­fromJuly4,1990,in Chi­naDaily:Thou­sand­sof peo­ple­con­verge­donBei­jing yes­ter­day­fortheopen­ing cer­e­mony­ofa­nau­toshow.

Morethan400au­tomak­ers­from17­coun­tries,in­clud­ingth­eUnit­edS­tates,Ja­pan andGer­many,arepar­tic­i­patingintheshowattheChina In­ter­na­tion­alEx­hi­bi­tion Cen­ter.

Au­tomak­ers world­wide are jump­ing on the vir­tual and aug­mented re­al­ity band­wagon, and bring­ing the tech­nolo­gies to auto shows.

At the Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Auto Show in April, the project, such as how it could ne­go­ti­ate curves or fit un­der the many foot­bridges in cities such as Bei­jing, as well as wor­ries over how it could turn cor­ners

In ad­di­tion, there was a certain fog of con­fu­sion shroud­ing the project with re­gard to its sources of fund­ing.

But in my opin­ion, this is a lost op­por­tu­nity. We are al­ready con­gested to the point of grid­lock on the roads in our cities, and we now go un­der cities such as Bei­jing with a net­work of sub­way lines, so it ap­pears to me that the only other avail­able al­ter­na­tive after go­ing down is to go up.

The Tran­sit El­e­vated Bus had been greeted with a certain amount of deri­sion ever since the con­cept was first mooted, with some even say­ing that mo­torists may have be­come alarmed when they many au­tomak­ers such as Audi, Buick and Kia pre­sented cars with VR tech­nol­ogy.

Vis­i­tors were able to vir­tu­ally ex­pe­ri­ence their dream cars and take vir­tual test-drives by wear­ing a VR head­set.

The show at­tracted more than 1 mil­lion vis­i­tors.

Since China over­took the United States to be­come the world’s largest car mar­ket in 2010, in­ter­na­tional au­tomak­ers have been rolling out their lat­est prod­ucts to lure cus­tomers.

As au­thor­i­ties tighten en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards to fight pol­lu­tion, par­tially caused by a surge in the ap­proached this un­usual ve­hi­cle and feared they may crash into it.

Per­haps we need to be a bit more will­ing to em­brace new ideas and not just fall back on the very prim­i­tive hu­man emo­tion of fear of the un­known. After all, this was what greeted a host of in­no­va­tions through­out history. num­ber of ve­hi­cles, global au­tomak­ers are de­vel­op­ing a se­ries of new elec­tric ve­hi­cles aimed at the Chi­nese mar­ket.

They pre­sented 159 new en­ergy cars at the Shang­hai show, rep­re­sent­ing about 11 per­cent of all ex­hibits at the event.

China has been the world’s largest new en­ergy car mar­ket since 2015.

Prior to the open­ing of the Liver­pool and Manch­ester rail­way line in the United King­dom, the world’s first ma­jor rail link, in 1830, there were fears that trav­el­ing at the pre­vi­ously unimag­in­able speed of 27 kilo­me­ters per hour, it would be im­pos­si­ble to breathe, or that the pas­sen­gers’ eyes would be dam­aged by hav­ing to ad­just to the mo­tion.

And when tele­vi­sion was in its in­fancy in the 1930s in the UK — the first na­tion to broad­cast a reg­u­lar TV ser­vice — there were bizarre fears touted in the me­dia that it would be able to see into view­ers’ homes, or even that the TV an­ten­nas would emit harm­ful ra­di­a­tion.

Had we lis­tened to these naysay­ers, where would we be to­day?

Con­tact the writer at ian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Last year, more than 500,000 elec­tric cars, plug-in hy­brids and fuel-cell mod­els were sold in China, up by 53 per­cent year-onyear.

LIANG GUOZHUANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

A boy poses for photos with sculp­tures at a square in Bei­jing on Sun­day.

CHINA DAILY PRO­VIDED TO

The test rails for the Tran­sit El­e­vated Bus in Qin­huang­dao, He­bei prov­ince were de­mol­ished, on Thurs­day.

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