The innovative elevated bus expected to revolutionize public transportation in China is officially dead.
First tested last August, the Transit Elevated Bus was celebrated by Chinese state media, and images of the unique design took the internet by storm.
“The invention of the Transit Elevated Bus is considered a revolution for environmental-friendly public transportation,” TEB Technology wrote on its website, which is no longer active. Authorities in Qinhuangdao have torn down the test track, hauled off the bus, and detained 32 people for illegal fundraising through questionable peer-to-peer transactions, reports the Financial Times.
World’s first transit elevated bus, TEB-1 on its launching test Tuesday in Qinhuangdao, N China’s Hebei pic.twitter.com/yMepYWD1kD
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) August 2, 2016
The Transit Elevated Bus, in theory, is an electric-powered bus able to straddle traffic and carry over 300 passengers around the city with ease.
Shortly after its sensational debut, a Chinese media outlet hinted that the future of transportation might be a scam. Not only were there serious questions about its application, but strong evidence suggested that Huaying Kailai, the parent company for TEB Technology, had raised nearly twenty million dollars while only spending a couple million on the project. There were also concerns about the starting price for funding and investment return promises. Police have instructed investors to file complaints, and so far, at least 72 angry people have already come forward and demanded their money back.
Chinese authorities are investigating Huaying Kailai and its chief executive Bai Zhiming, the “Father of the TEB.”
The project became a national disgrace late last year, as the bus could be seen collecting dust on the testing track where it dazzled the world just a few months prior. The bus intended to soar over traffic, as the project ran out of money, was abandoned and left to, ironically, block traffic in a Chinese town.
After sitting idle for months, authorities finally made the decision to tow the TEB away.
The investigation into the project comes as the Chinese government moves to crack down on shadow banking practices for domestic projects, an rampant problem in China that threatens financial stability.
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