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Cities adopt measures to stop repeat of bus tragedy

By Zhang Wenfang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-07 17:31
[Photo/VCG]

A number of Chinese cites have stepped up efforts to keep bus drivers safe and avoid brawls between drivers and passengers while on their routes, following a tragic bus accident on Oct 28 caused by a fight between the driver and a passenger, leaving 13 dead and two missing.

Keeping bus passengers separated from the driver's cabin has been the most commonly suggested option to improve bus safety for Chinese cities.

Southwest China's Chongqing, where the accident happened, announced Sunday independent driver's cabins should be set up inside buses, and safety partitions in the form of a net or bar will also be installed.

The bus operator in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province, said in an interview on Friday over half of the city's 8,000-plus buses were equipped with safety partitions before the accident and they aim to cover the rest with safety gates by 2019.

Beijing, with over 70 percent of buses having separate driver's cabins, has promised to replace old buses that do not have safety partitions with new ones having such devices step by step.

Dozens of other Chinese cities including Xi'an, Wuhan, Changsha and Nanning also have plans to add safety partitions to buses to protect drivers from passengers' possible interference and disturbance.

Many more measures have been adopted to better ensure bus safety.

A one-push button to call police has been provided to Beijing's bus drivers in case of assaults and emergencies since 2015, and will be accessible to all of them by 2020.

Warning signs and safety officers will be seen on buses in more Chinese cities in the future.

Since both the passenger and the bus driver were responsible for the bus' fatal plunge into the Yangtze River, measures targeting the two groups have been rolled out.

The public transport authority in Xi'an said on Sunday anyone who maliciously interferes in bus driving will be seriously dealt with according to the law. Abuse, threats or attacks on bus drivers, or snatching the steering wheel away from them will be considered a crime and perpetrators will be detained by public security organs.

A whistleblowing scheme and rewards of up to 5,000 yuan ($721) for whistleblowers for misbehavior on buses have also been applied in Xi'an.

On the other side, training on how to deal with conflicts with passengers and psychological support and counseling programs have been provided to bus drivers.

The bus operator in Quanzhou, East China's Fujian province, has invited psychologists to offer counseling services to drivers and teach them how to manage their emotions when encountering a passenger who is unreasonable.

The bus company in Nanjing asks bus driver not to scold or fight back when assaulted by passengers, instead offering the driver compensation of 200 yuan ($29).

All the preventative measures above are testament to the fact the Chongqing bus crash sounded the alarm of public safety on buses, and many Chinese cities have learned a lesson from it. Improved bus safety is well underway across China.

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