China’s just began testing its first ever “sky-train” earlier this week. The suspension railway is currently zipping around on a monorail track in a province in Southern China, reaching speeds of up to 60 km / hr (about 37 mph). When it launches, the train will be battery-powered, entirely autonomous, and capable of carrying 200 people.
It also looks like a giant panda — if the panda was a little square.
— China Daily (@ChinaDailyUSA) July 24, 2018
This isn’t the first time that East Asia has launched some kind of public transit that’s on the cute and fuzzy side. We’ve also seen Hello Kitty–themed bullet trains in Japan, which feature bright pink and Sanrio-themed everything, from the walls, to the headrests, to the window curtains. The train even has a car dubbed the “Kawaii! Room”, featuring, among other things, a mega-sized Hello Kitty Plush.
And of course, we can’t forget about the Catbus.
Asking around the Verge offices, a few staffers seemed to side with cat-themed transport, but others got a little more creative, suggesting that they’d rather catch a ride in a whale- or hippo-type train.
I, for one, could deal with more animal-themed transit outside of Asia, and here in the United States. Right now, in New York, the closest thing we have are the occasional rats scurrying across the subway tracks, or the dogs that face the wrath of the MTA. It’s about time that we stopped looking at these animals as pests, and started slapping them onto the outside of our public transportation.