China’s Futuristic Bus Scam

Putting the fiction in Sci-Fi transportation.

As one of the leading global carbon emissions culprits, China has taken a hard look at its pollution problem and is working on ways to remedy the crisis. There was a brief respite from the toxic air during the 2008 Beijing Olympics – although the Games still earned the dubious title of most polluted Olympics ever – but some sources say the country is already back to pre-Olympic pollution levels.

more than one billion dollars US was invested in Chinese'floating bus'.more than one billion dollars US was invested in Chinese'floating bus'.

Seemed unlikely, was unlikely.

Behold, the bus of the future

One innovation to impact this problem was met with a chorus of international excitement, but seems to have been nothing more than (toxic) smoke blowing. Plans were announced years ago and an actual semi-working model was unveiled last year for a mass transit vehicle that could travel on tracks laid alongside existing roadways, all but removing the need for brand-new infrastructure to make it happen. It was referred to as a bus, but the futuristic vehicle was far from your ordinary method of transportation. It traveled on tracks that were laid down on either side of the highway, making it two lanes wide. How were drivers supposed to deal with a bus that took up two lanes of traffic? They would drive underneath its elevated passenger berth.

It was all very science fictiony, wave of the future stuff. But why all the past tense in describing this wonder vehicle? Because it appears to have been a complete scam.

More than 30 arrested

According to the investigators who’ve now detained more than 30 people associated with the project, the 300 meters of track are slated for demolition since no further progress has been made on actually implementing the vehicle. This time last year, reports were already in place that claimed the buses would be in operation by now, but the very company who designed the first bus has yet to be paid and as such is refusing to do any more work on the project. More than $1bn dollars US was invested by more than 70 entities, and apparently, that money has vanished. Here’s hoping that someone else will take up the project and make the cool concept into a reality.

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