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Is China's Traffic-Straddling Bus a Gigantic Fraud?

You know how they say a Monet is beautiful from far away, but a mess up close?

Last week, you may have seen social media blow up about a transportation marvel that hit the streets in prototype form.

The Transit Elevated Bus, or TEB-1, is designed to rise far above other vehicles on the road, allowing cars to pass underneath. The idea that was supposed to solve the traffic problems many Chinese cities face was first raised in 2010. A short demonstration video released in last May at Beijing’s 19th International High-Tech Expo won the TEB firm attention.

There are a few big questions, such as whether the weight of a fully loaded bus, as well as the cars underneath it, is too much for the roads to withstand. Others worry that the height below, where cars can pass through, isn’t high enough for all smaller vehicles to make it.

To be fair, we know that the TEB-1 is a prototype, but some media outlets, including Car News China and Jalopnik, are pointing out some troubling flaws in the existing design. You know how they say a Monet is beautiful from far away, but a mess up close? Well, the TEB-1 may just fall into that category, with Car News China claiming that it looked so much better in the press photos.

The news outlet is reporting that the entire vehicle and test track was built in two months. They’ve posted pictures on their website of shoddy paintwork and tiny rubber wheels that support the TEB-1, as well as the “rails” which actually appear to just be gutters filled with mud.

Let’s not forget about this oddly integrated home window air conditioning unit…?

At this point, speculation even abounds as to whether the TEB-1 is actually a big scam. Jalopnik’s writers wonder whether this whole thing is really just a re-bodied gantry crane, and if the test was slapped together as a way to get more investment money, which the company will eventually disappear with.

If it’s me, I think I’d just rather sit in traffic than get aboard, or drive underneath, one of these things.

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