Stupid giant bus idea

(I’m playing catch up here; this was from about a month ago.)

How has a stupid idea like this giant bus on rails got so much attention?

Giant bus proposal from China

It’s never going to work.

What speed could a thing like that run at without coming off its rails?

What happens when a car or the “bus” turns off the road? *bang!*

“Elevated bus stops will be erected to allow passenger to embark, or where there’s no room for those the bus will have ladders.”

— well, that rules it out for any western country, where wheelchair accessibility is mandated these days.

If it’s meant to be economical use of the space above cars but below bridges, what happens when a tall bus or truck comes along? *bang!*

What a stupid idea.

When will people learn that transport issues are not primarily technological (we need something that floats above cars), but political (why don’t we have more effective bus/tram lanes? Because politicians aren’t willing to take space from single occupancy cars).

It’s like the hype around Segway when it first appeared. Remember that?

… Apple co-founder Steve Jobs even predicted that cities would be redesigned around the device and that it would be even more significant than the personal computer.


…and this:

Kemper mentions the invention may require work by “city planners, regulators, legislators, large commercial companies, and university presidents about how cities, companies and campuses can be retrofitted for [Segway].”

New roads, paths, and traffic regulations may be necessary if [Segway] were to take off with anywhere near the force some tech luminaries are predicting.

CNet News

Yeah. Right.

Of course… I’ve been wrong about new technology before.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Stupid giant bus idea”

Totally ridiculous. Just like putting trams on rails in the middle of a road carrying other traffic. Or a train you can drive trucks onto, and carry them through a tunnel under the sea. None of these idiotic ideas will ever come to fruition.

A little off-topic but (from the transport forum last night) the comments from Pakula that we need to accept buses as public transport is a lazy cop-out; it is near-impossible to push a light weight wheelchair onto a bus that’s been retro-fitted with a drop down ramp, maneuver it past commuters and squeeze it into the ONE and only spot reserved for wheelchairs, then get the damn thing (with the disabled person insitu) off again without hurting yourself. I used to be a nurse so wheelchairs aren’t exactly foreign to me.
And don’t get me started on the so-called ‘wheelchair accessible’ connecting coaches on V/Line that have no ability to take wheelchairs except in the undercarriage storage compartment leaving the disabled person to CLIMB up the steps into the bus.

@Jayne, but be realistic. You are NEVER going to get trams and trains everywhere. Never. It’s inevitable that some routes will run with buses.

Question is, can they design the buses better so they can more easily accommodate wheelchairs? I’ve certainly seen wheelchairs on some of the buses I’ve used, so it can be done.

(The tiny number of accessible trams and tram stops is also something that needs attention.)

Daniel, I’m not claiming that you can get get trains and trams everywhere but when buses are being touted as the answer to all the transport problems without addressing the issues that a section of the travelling public struggle with everyday that is being far from realistic on the Minister’s behalf.
And the fact remains that you cannot get a wheelchair – with a person sitting in it – onto a V/Line coach that is described as wheelchair accessible which is supposed to be a permanent rail replacement.
If the replacement (coach) is unable to deliver the same level of service (train) then it’s discriminating against a section of the public just to save on cost.

@Jayne, yep, agreed!

Even for the able bodied, it’s difficult to do as Pakula suggests and treat buses on the same basis as trams and trains when the service levels (operating hours and frequency) are nowhere as good.

@Jayne; sections of the public are always discriminated against based on cost. It’s a fact of life that government cannot provide all things to all people. That’s why most buses only have one or two (e.g. in Canberra most new buses can take two) wheelchair positions; to accomodate more would require drastic internal modification either to detriment of typical commuters or at uneconomical expense. It’s also why Hurstbridge will never get the frequency of Glenferrie or Footscray. It’s discrimination against the residents of Hurstbridge (in its way) but it would simply be a poor govt that threw services at three stations that barely see a train-load a day over those that see 20 or more times that.

However, you point about the V/Line coaches is a good one, and the government has signed into legislation the DDA 2002 standards, and therefore must meet them. Most or all of the typical modifications (ramps, level boarding etc) are good things for able-bodied commuters, anyway, and having wandered around on crutches recently, much appreciated : )

I’ll agree with Pakula on the buses when they actually treat buses like a light rail vehicle on rubber tyres; ie, seat spacing/layout in which your knees are not crushed up against your chest and SmartBus/light rail frequency… on sensible routes, not suburban excursions.

I was extremely sceptical of these when I first read about them, but I must say the more I’ve read the less sceptical I’ve become.

The tall bus and truck argument is pretty easily solved, ban those vehicles from driving on roads where these run, or where possible, force them into the lanes on the outside.

As for stations, an elevated station does not necessary take any more space than a ground level station.

I think the primary advantage of these is not that they ride above traffic, but rather that they (theoretically) can travel in a similar pattern to a train line, with only a fraction of the cost involved in setting them up.

Also if anyone can get them to work it will be the Chinese.

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