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350 More Buses Begin Service

Date Posted:2010-03-11   Author:    Source:Original site

A further 350 buses will be put into service this year to ease overcrowding that has drawn much criticism from the public, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.
The news was announced at a seminar by the city public transport authority and three main bus operators on improving public transport Tuesday afternoon.
According to the plan, which is expected to cost 175 million yuan (US$26 million), Shenzhen East Bus Group and West Bus Group will each put 100 new buses into operation while the remaining 150 will serve routes run by the Shenzhen Bus Group.
Bus overcrowding has become one of the most talked-about issues among Shenzhen residents, who often describe the experience of catching a bus to their workplace or back home as a brutal struggle.
Queues for buses at stops along the Huaqiangbei commercial area during evening rush hour can be as long as several kilometers. And it can take up to an hour to board a bus during the busy period, according to the accounts of office workers in Huaqiangbei.
“When I manage to get onto a bus, I feel like I’m being sandwiched and have difficulty breathing,” said Zhou Xiaoxia, an office worker who lives in Sijihuacheng housing estate in Bantian, and spends at least two hours getting home every evening.
Zhou said she must leave home at least one hour earlier than in previous years just to make it to the office on time every morning.
Official figures showed that nearly 46 percent of the city’s buses regularly become overcrowded, especially on routes passing through the Futian CBD, Chegongmiao, the Futian Bonded Zone, Dongmen and Huaqiangbei areas. Most white-collar workers in these areas usually choose to live in Xin’an, Buji and Longhua-Minzhi-Bantian neighborhoods outside the special economic zone, where housing prices are lower than those in Futian, Nanshan and Luohu districts.
Bus stops in residential estates in Bantian tend to be crowded by around 8 a.m., and buses are usually so packed that drivers can’t close their doors.
“Everybody wants to squeeze in,” said a driver of a No. 355 bus, who declined to be named. “Sometimes they refuse to get off even I tell them that bus can’t move on with door opened.”
Many passengers get upset having to wait more than half an hour for a bus, according to bus drivers. Some resort to dangerous moves such as standing in the road or in front of buses to express their discontent.
“The worst experience I had was to board a bus at 6 p.m. after waiting for a bus from noon,” said Liu Xiang, who lives in Longgang and works in Bantian.
Liu said at least 10 buses drove past the bus stop without stopping, as every one of them was full. (Wei Jie)