Here’s Why That Chinese ‘Straddling’ Bus Wouldn’t Work in L.A.

…or anywhere, for that matter

Everyone was in thrall over the recent Chinese test drive of the “straddling bus,” a proposal for a public transport contraption that would operate above roads and allow cars to pass underneath it. Sounds like a good idea, but the reality of one of these systems being green-lit in a major city like L.A. is as likely as porcine flight.

Numerous publications have brought the bus, known in some circles as the “Batie,” down to Earth. Through five points, Streetsblog poked holes in the legitimacy of the Batie, saying its ability to maneuver around corners and above SUVs and trucks is questionable, to say the least. The website also pointed out the biggest fallacy about the “bus”—it ain’t one. The Batie would need tracks and would operate in a fixed guideway. So, in other words, it’s a train. Of course, people prefer trains over buses, but the former is always more expensive and less adaptable.

The BBC also raised questions about the Batie’s designer, Song Youzhou, and said the recent tests were “unofficial” and any agreements made with the Chinese government have been overblown.

“Public reports show that the company behind Batie signed a strategic partnership with the Qinhuangdao government in April, but when the Beijing News got in touch, both the Qinhuangdao and local Beidaihe governments denied any active involvement in the project, saying there was only a ‘skeleton’ agreement,” the British news service reported.

We asked Metro if a straddling bus was being considered for a project like the proposed transit connection through the Sepulveda Pass. We never received a response after a few attempts, which doesn’t bode too well for the Batie. OK, so how about a gondola?