Bus or Train? World’s First ‘Dual-Mode Vehicle’ to Begin Operating in Japan | Technology News

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TOKYO (Reuters) – It’s a bus, it’s a train, it’s a DMV! The world’s first dual-mode vehicle, equally at home on road and rail, is set to make its public debut on Saturday in the town of Kaiyo in Japan’s Tokushima prefecture.

The DMV looks like a minibus and runs on normal rubber tyres 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 carriage.

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.

The DMV can carry up to 21 passengers and runs at a speed of 60km/h (37 mph) on rail tracks and can go as fast as around 100km/h (62 mph) on public roads, Asa Coast Railway said.

Powered by diesel fuel, the small fleet of vehicles, which come in different colours, will run along part of the coast of Shikoku island in southern Japan, connecting several small towns and offering passengers attractive seaside scenery.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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