Is it a bus? Is it a train? It’s a DMV! The world’s first vehicle with two modes of operation, both road and rail, will make its public debut on Saturday in the city of Kaiyo, in Japan’s Tokushima prefecture.
The DMV looks like a minibus and runs on normal tires on the road. But when it reaches an interchange, steel wheels descend from the underside of the vehicle onto the railroad track, turning it into a train car.
The train’s wheels lift the front tires off the track, while the rear tires stay down to propel the DMV onto the rail.
The chief executive of Asa Coast Railway, which operates the DMVs, said the vehicles could help small towns like Kaiyo, with aging and declining populations, where local trucking companies are struggling to make a profit.
“(The DMV) can reach the locals (like a bus) and take them down the railroad as well,” CEO Shigeki Miura told Reuters on Friday. “Especially in rural areas with an aging population, we hope it will be a very good form of public transport.”
The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and travels at a speed of 60 km / h on railways, while it can reach about 100 km / h on public roads, according to Asa Coast Railway.
The small fleet of diesel-powered vehicles in different colors will cruise along part of the coast of Shikoku Island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering passengers an attractive coastal landscape.
Miura said he hopes the project will encourage railway fans across Japan to visit it.
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