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Dual train-bus vehicle starts commercial operation in Japan

A railway company in western Japan has started commercial operation of what are known as Dual-Mode Vehicles, which run on both tracks and roads.

The minibus-modified hybrid transporter started running through rural areas in the Shikoku region on Saturday. Tokushima Prefecture says it's the world's first commercial operation of DMVs.

The first DMV departed a terminal in southern Tokushima Prefecture in bus mode around noon.

The vehicle was carrying 18 passengers. Its capacity has been reduced due to the coronavirus.

When it got to a station, it turned itself into a train by lowering wheels onto the tracks. It then traveled to a town in eastern Kochi Prefecture.

The DMVs are operated by a small public-private partnership firm, Asa Coast Railway Company. The company plans to make the service a major local tourist attraction, utilizing the currently unprofitable train line.