The entire world was excited to see China's innovative straddling bus that has the potential to revamp the hectic traffic scene in cities world over. So when the straddling bus, officially dubbed as TEB-1, was reportedly running on the streets of Qinhuangdao in China's Hebei province in early August, it was with great enthusiasm that the world looked at the photographs, only to be left disappointed.
Designed by Song Youzhou, the TEB-1 was supposed to be China's environmentally-friendly answer to the world's traffic problem. It had even found a spot on Time Magazine's 50 best inventions in 2010 and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed an interest in bringing this innovation to India.
However, despite the huge unveiling ceremony last week, the Transit Elevated Bus has been accused of being a scam. One of the main reasons for the accusation is the simplistic construction of the bus in photos. Further, even the Qinhuangdao officials denied any knowledge of the test or association with the project.The city's top economic planner even accused the company of not even getting approval for the test.
Watch the video of the "internal testing" here:
Following this, Huaying Kailai, the parent company of the TEB, clarified that it was not a road test, but an "internal testing," although since then the bus has been locked away from the public eye. Chinese state media has also confirmed that the entire project is a giant P2P investment scam and that the project is not feasible.
Another allegation plaguing the company is that the land at Zhoukou port in Henan, which was supposed to hold the factory to build these innovative buses is deserted and does not feature a single building, let alone a straddling bus. Xinhua says that TEB tech has not even signed a contract with the local government for the same.
Panicked investors are now reportedly asking for their money back. Beijing News quoted one of the investors as saying, "My wife and I have invested more than 1 million yuan into Huaying Kaila's platform since 2014 with annual returns of 16 percent. But we want to get out money back now after reading negative news..."
Meanwhile, the designer Youzhou maintains that there is no scam involved. "We haven't done anything wrong at all. The latest tests show that the bus design is entirely possible," he told Sixth Tone.