China plans big bus to drive over cars

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    A digital rendering of the 3-D Express Bus driving down the highway


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    A rear view of the 3-D Express Bus


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    Passengers wait to board the 3-D Express Bus


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    A digital rendering of passengers inside the 3-D Express Bus, which will travel above cars.


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    The 3-D Express bus will be built to drive over cars


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    The 3-D Express Bus heads down the highway


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    The 3-D Express Bus


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    3-D Express Buses pass by each other


A rear view of the 3-D Express Bus


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: A nearly two week-long traffic jam in Beijing, China, is starting to ease up. Drivers can now get through in a few hours instead of days.

In the midst of that, a Beijing suburb has
announced it will soon begin testing a new
futuristic bus that would be built on tall legs --
allowing bus passengers to travel above all the cars on the highway. No, it's not a joke.

Marketplace's China Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports.

ROB SCHMITZ: The vehicle travels on rails and straddles two lanes of traffic, allowing cars to drive 15 feet below where its passengers sit. It'll hold 1,200 people and travel up to 50 miles per hour. Its $7.5 million price tag is roughly one-tenth of what it costs to build a subway of the same length.

It wasn't bad timing for Song Youzhou. The inventor revealed the blueprints of his "3-D Express Bus" the same week that Beijing's epic traffic jam made international headlines.


Song says he'll complete the bus by the end of next year. His company will lay a few miles of track for the bus in the Beijing suburb of Mentougou next year. If the pilot project works, says Song, he'll add another hundred miles of track.

But not everyone likes this idea.


Transportation expert Ou Guoli says Beijing traffic is already dangerous; this bus will just make it worse. He doubts it'll be the perfect solution.

Something's got to be done, though, says Ou, to ease traffic congestion. An additional 350 million people are expected to move to China's cities in the next 15 years.

In Shanghai, I'm Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

CHIOTAKIS: See what the bus looks like.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent, based in Shanghai.

A rear view of the 3-D Express Bus


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