Safety mea­sures ex­pected to pro­tect bus driv­ers

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By TAN YINGZI in Chongqing and ZHANG WENFANG in Bei­jing Con­tact the writ­ers at tany­ingzi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese cities are step­ping up their ef­forts to keep bus driv­ers safe from vi­o­lently an­gry pas­sen­gers af­ter a tragic bus crash on Oct 28 caused by a woman who at­tacked the driver. Thir­teen peo­ple died, and two re­main miss­ing.

Keep­ing pas­sen­gers sep­a­rated from the driver’s cabin is the most com­monly sug­gested op­tion for im­prov­ing safety.

Chongqing, where the ac­ci­dent hap­pened, has an­nounced that in­de­pen­dent driver’s cab­ins will be set up in­side buses, and safety par­ti­tions in the form of nets or bars will be in­stalled.

The com­pany that op­er­ates buses in Nan­jing, Jiangsu prov­ince, said that more than half the city’s 8,000-plus buses were al­ready equipped with safety par­ti­tions be­fore the ac­ci­dent, and it aims to up­grade the rest with safety gates by 2019.

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

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 pos­si­ble in­ter­fer­ence by pas­sen­gers.

Many more mea­sures have been adopted to help en­sure bus safety. An emer­gency but­ton to call po­lice has been pro­vided to Bei­jing’s bus driv­ers in case of as­saults or other emer­gen­cies since 2015, and it’s planned to make them avail­able to all driv­ers by 2020.

The bus com­pany in Nan­jing is ask­ing bus driv­ers not to scold or fight back if as­saulted by a pas­sen­ger. Stan­dard pro­ce­dure is to stop the bus im­me­di­ately and then de­ter­mine what to do next. In cases of as­sault, driv­ers will be of­fered com­pen­sa­tion of 200 yuan ($29).

The bus com­pany in Quanzhou, Fu­jian prov­ince, has in­vited psy­chol­o­gists to of­fer coun­sel­ing ser­vices to driv­ers and teach them how to man­age their emo­tions when con­fronted by an un­ruly pas­sen­ger.

The pre­ven­tive mea­sures were adopted af­ter ne­ti­zens and me­dia com­men­ta­tors called for im­proved safety mea­sures on mass tran­sit, as well as greater aware­ness of the rules by rid­ers.

Oc­to­ber’s fa­tal crash was caused by a brawl be­tween the bus driver and a fe­male pas­sen­ger, the po­lice said. Based on an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­cluded footage from the ve­hi­cle’s data recorder, po­lice de­ter­mined that the pas­sen­ger, sur­named Liu, had missed her stop and asked the driver, sur­named Ran, to pull over. When Ran re­fused, she be­gan to hit him with her cell­phone, caus­ing Ran to lose con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

Fol­low­ing the re­lease of the footage, which an­gered many ne­ti­zens, other sim­i­lar footage show­ing pas­sen­gers hit­ting driv­ers or grab­bing steer­ing wheels were posted on­line, demon­strat­ing that the prob­lem in­volves more than a sin­gle case.

Many ne­ti­zens took to so­cial me­dia to call for ac­tion to ad­dress the prob­lem. Some sug­gested that pas­sen­gers should be more proac­tive and in­ter­vene when they see dan­ger­ous be­hav­ior; oth­ers said safety par­ti­tions should be in­stalled to keep bus pas­sen­gers sep­a­rated from the driver’s called for tougher against of­fend­ers.

A court in Shenyang, Liaon­ing prov­ince, re­cently handed down prison sen­tences to three peo­ple who en­dan­gered pub­lic safety by dis­tract­ing bus driv­ers, Xin­hua News Agency re­ported on Sun­day.

“These mea­sures are nec­es­sary, but they are not enough,” Xin­hua said in a com­men­tary. “Pub­lic se­cu­rity is closely con­nected with so­cial moral­ity. The pub­lic should strictly fol­low the law, im­prove self-dis­ci­pline and be calmer and more ra­tio­nal.” cabin or penal­ties

ZHANG WEI / CHINA DAILY

A life-size model of China’s CR929 wide­body pas­sen­ger air­craft is dis­played at the China In­ter­na­tional Avi­a­tion and Aero­space Ex­hi­bi­tion — the Zhuhai Air­show — in Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince, on Wed­nes­day. The real air­craft are ex­pected to be­gin test flights by 2023.

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