A fleet of buses that can also be used as trains began to provide public transportation services in Japan.
Train-buses called DMV (Dual-Mode Vehicle), which means dual-function vehicle, can travel both on the rail and on the road.
Midibus-sized DMVs, which started to serve in the Tokushima province in the south of the country, have steel wheels that enable them to move on the rails as well as their normal tires.
Steel wheels sit on the track, disconnecting the front tires from the ground. The rear wheels maintain their connection with the rail for propulsion.
The reason is the declining and aging population
The main reason for adopting a dual-function vehicle solution in the region is to reduce transportation costs in rural areas, whose population is rapidly decreasing and aging.
Shigeki Miura, chief executive of the company that operates the DMVs, told Reuters that DMVs reach local people by bus and can also transport them on railroads: “We hope this will become a very good form of public transport, especially in rural areas with an aging population”.
DMVs with a capacity of 21 passengers can reach speeds of 60 kilometers per hour as trains. On normal roads, this speed rises to 100 kilometers per hour.
The diesel-powered vehicles of different colors will connect several small towns off the coast of Shikoku Island in southern Japan and offer passengers a sea view. (euronews)