THE WORLDPOST
09/05/2012 05:33 pm ET

World's Longest Bus? Rejected By Berlin, Big Bendy AutoTram Extra Grand Might Serve China's Cities

Matthias Rietschel, dapd / AP

It's too bad they can't call it the Megabus.

The triple-segmented AutoTram Extra Grand is the latest brainchild of Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems. Measuring 98 feet (30 meters), the vehicle is the world's longest bus, the institute claims.

While Berlin's public transportation company rejected the super-long mass transit vehicle -- citing the cost of infrastructure upgrades necessary to accommodate it -- the bus might be coming to Chinese cities, according to Shanghaiist.com.

The Daily Mail notes that the "big bendy bus" recently premiered in the German city of Dresden, and Shanghai and Beijing have placed orders for their own buses, which cost $10 million apiece.

Proponents say the bus, with its 256-passenger capacity and electric batteries that recharge en route, represents the future of urban mass transit.

But critics have claimed that similar large buses have proven to be simply too big for most urban streets, causing traffic accidents and aiding fare-dodgers.

London pulled two-car bendy buses from service in 2009 after they were found to cause more accidents than regular buses. Many of these buses were sold to Malta in 2011, the Guardian notes.

London mayor Boris Johnson has been one of the most vocal opponents of the bendy bus. During his 2008 mayoral candidacy, Johnson decried the vehicles' safety records, calling them "jack-knifing, traffic-blocking, self-combusting, [and] cyclist-crushing," and backed his opinion with some startling data, according to Channel4.

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