China’s Vision for a Straddling Bus Dissolves in Scandal and Arrests
HONG KONG – Perhaps a giant streetcar rolling boring cars filling the streets was not the answer to traffic congestion problems in China. The plan of a Chinese inventor to develop a vehicle of this type, called “horse bus” was actually killed people after an investment company that supported the project were arrested.
The bus was designed to travel on the slopes, but with its large body so that two lanes of traffic can pass underneath. About 1,200 passengers had been established between specialized stops.
The traffic bus to undergo road tests overlap on August 2, 2016. the new China TV Video
But critics have raised many questions, including the cost of installing tracks and stations, that large trucks are then locked and risk for small vehicles and pedestrians.
“The cars in the belly of the vehicle would have no way to change direction, and even changing lanes would be dangerous,” said the news from Beijing last year.
The 72-foot-long, 16-foot-tall bus was designed to run on runways, with its body raised so two lanes of traffic could pass underneath. Luo Xiaoguang / Xinhua Credit, through Associated Press
Over the next few months, Chinese media and investors have raised specific questions about the company behind the project, TDF Kailai. The company promoted the “reliability” of investment in public and private partnerships, such as the bus initiative and promised annual returns of up to 12 percent.
A New York Times reporter who visited TDF office Kailai in September saw the walls covered with photographs of the owner, Bai Zhiming, with celebrities, local businessmen and administrators. Half a dozen investors have been detained for more than an hour. Some have received gifts and supermarket bags full of money.
“We are a private technology company. We are not a briefcase for illegal fundraising,” said Zhang Wei, director of development and planning for TEB Tech subsidiary TDF Kailai who developed the bus.
“Everything we do is approved by relevant ministries in government, and if we have an illegal business with financial problems, why are local governments still interested in us?”
In the fall, as public scrutiny has increased, the test track and huge prototype, 72 feet long, 16 feet high, have fallen into disuse. In June, workers began dismantling the 330-yard runway, a sign that the local government would not allow the project to continue
Mr. Bai was one of 32 staff members of TDF Kailai detained last week due to illegal fundraising, Beijing police said Sunday. Company officials were not available for comment Tuesday.
The Chinese press conferences were very critical, saying that the exercise was little more than a fraud from the beginning.
“The truth is that the bus was a false science scam investment without scientific innovation,” the article said Monday Beijing News. “The test was just a trick to attract investors.”