Bus or train? World's first 'dual-mode vehicle' to begin operating in Japan
It's a bus, it's a train? No! It's a DMV! The world's first dual-mode vehicle, equally at home on road and rail, made its debut on Saturday in the Japanese town of Kaiyo.
The DMV looks like a minibus and runs on normal rubber tires on the road. But when it arrives at an interchange, steel wheels descend from the vehicle's underbelly onto the rail track, effectively turning it into a train.
The train wheels lift the front tires off the track while the rear wheels stay down to propel the DMV.
The CEO of Asa Coast Railway company, which operates the DMVs, said the vehicles could help small towns like Kaiyo with an ageing and shrinking population, where local transport companies struggle to make a profit.
"This (DMV) can reach the locals (as a bus), and carry them onto the railway as well," said CEO Shigeki Miura. "Especially in rural areas with an ageing population, we expect it to be a very good form of public transport."
The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at 60 kilometers an hour on rail tracks and can go as fast as around 100kmh on public roads.
Powered by diesel, the small fleet will run along part of the coast of Shikoku island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering attractive seaside scenery.