In response to an increasingly concerned nationwide discussion about the safety of drivers and passengers on China buses, following the recent tragic crash in Chongqing that killed 13 people, Nanjing has announced it is to install safety partitions on all city buses to protect drivers from unruly passengers.
Violence towards bus drivers in China is not a new problem, however, with a rise in tragic accidents such as that in Chongqing, local governments are beginning to take action.
The Chongqing crash occured on 28 October, 2018, as a result of a disgruntled passenger, who attacked the driver, causing the bus to crash into the side of a bridge and plunge into the river below, killing 13 people, while two remained missing.
According to the People’s Daily, the Nanjing Public Transport Group have stated that not only will 8,000 busses be fitted with partitions, but drivers will be given “grievance awards” of up to ￥200 as a reward for not reacting to public aggression.
After police recovered the black box from the bus wreckage, the cause of the accident was revealed. Police later shared the footage of the incident which caused a sensation across the Chinese internet with over 1.1 billion views on Weibo alone.
The enraged public began heated discussions under the #重庆公交车坠江原因 (Chongqing bus crashed into river), not only expressing sympathies for the deceased, but also posting more images and videos of related incidents across the country.
While Beijing already has around 70 percent of its busses partitioned, Nanjing says it will continue to install partitions until all are finished in 2019. Xi’an, Wuhan, Changsha and Nanning are set to begin installations soon.
Fujian bus company Quanzhou has offered psychologists and counseling to drivers and is teaching them how to deal with emotions following confrontation with passengers, reports China Daily.
In addition to furthering physical and emotional support and protection for bus drivers, stricter punishment for people who attack drivers is underway as well. Xinhua has reported on a court in Shenyang, Liaoning province, that has recently handed prison sentences to three people who endangered public safety.