School bus standard passed

Updated: 2012-01-14 08:26

By Xu Wei (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The new national standard on the technical specifications of school buses does not purely copy US standards and will fit in the situation in China, an official said on Friday.

Two mandatory safety standards for school buses were passed in a review by a national industry committee on Friday, with one technical specification requiring the shape of US school buses - with a bulging front end - to increase their safety in head-on collisions.

School bus standard passed

Two workers pull a bus body from a paint workshop in Hengtong Bus Co in Chongqing last month. A standard for school buses, which mandates the shape with bulging front ends, was passed in a review by a national industry committee on Friday. [Li Jian / Xinhua]

Another safety standard has laid out requirements for the size and quality of the seats.

Though it mimics the shape of the big-nosed US buses, authorities say the new standard has enough technical details that were designed specifically for conditions in China.

"The width of passages inside the buses, for instance, was shortened as much as possible," an official at the National Standard Committee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told China Daily. "So that the width of buses could also be shortened. And that design takes into account that most roads in China's rural areas are too narrow for large buses."

The specifications also take into consideration factors such as the driving habits and climate factors in China, he said.

The mandatory standards will be made public after receiving approvals from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Standard Committee.

The standards cover school buses for preschoolers older than three and children receiving nine-year compulsory education, Xinhua News Agency reported.

However, some schools that already own school buses remain concerned about the practicality of the new school bus standard.

"Our school buses have to go through hutong and narrow streets to pick up pupils," said Wang Jin, the bus coordinator of the Yew Chung International School of Beijing. "That's why I like the school vehicles we have right now. I hope there will be such considerations in the new standard."

The types of buses the school uses range from SUVs to mid-sized buses, and the school can arrange to use different vehicles according to the number of students to be carried.

The bus size matters because the school will have difficulty parking all of the vehicles if all are too big to park in the schoolyard, he said.

A string of road accidents involving school pupils and preschoolers in the last two months of 2011 set off a public outcry over the shortage of school buses and their poor safety standards nationwide.

After the accidents, the central government ordered a speedy national school bus standard to be created as the basis of a solution to the school bus problem nationwide.