Beijing to Invest 12.8 Billion Yuan in New Buses

A recent two-inch snowfall that reduced city buses to a crawl exposed just one of many problems with Beijing’s buses: the engines lack power. Also, their brakes habitually scream; their diesel fuel pollutes the air and their capacity isn’t enough to satisfy customer demand.

According to Feng Fuxing, vice general manager of Beijing Public Transport, most of Beijing’s China-made buses are falling into disrepair -- which is why the government has decided to invest 12.8 billion yuan (US$ 1.6 billion) to buy 14,000 new environmentally-friendly access buses by 2007.

Some 1,000 buses powered by natural gas and another 1,000 powered by electricity have already been purchased by the Beijing Public Transport along with 2,500 new barrier-free access buses for disabled people.

The traditional Beijing bus uses diesel oil to power its two cars joined by a central accordion-like compartment, providing lots of space but also a lot of pollution and at a relatively slow speed. Although the new buses burn clean fuel, those purchased so far have just one compartment capable of carrying fewer passengers at a higher speed. Word has it, however, that a new model bus with two adjoining cars has been produced that can soon be put into use, and Beijingers will feel much more comfortable in those buses.

And the screaming brakes? This is a problem that will be thoroughly dealt with according to an engineer in Beijing Public Transport, a Mr. Chen. He said that some of the China-made equipment on Beijing’s buses is not up to standard. Even more recently purchased buses are apt to start screaming in three months because their brake pads are so easily worn down. The new buses are equipped with brakes that are either imported or come from the best Chinese manufacturers.

As for the engines - no more breaking down on the cloverleaf on days of bad weather. The engines in the new buses are all up to the standard, powerful and stable.

The 2,500 barrier-free access buses ordered by Beijing Public Transport all have low chassis for easy access. They also are equipped with wheelchair ramps with special spaces on board for wheelchairs.

(北京青年报 [Beijing Youth Daily] by Jiang Shuo on December 11, 2001 , translated for by Unisumoon Liu on December 21, 2001)

In This Series

Billions for New Buses Not an "Impossible Dream"

Beijing Deals With Snow Traffic

Bus Trip to Beijing Upgraded



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