An accident-free year for one of the buses running along Nanjng’s longest bus route is down to the conscientious efforts of two ladies of Yangtze Public Transport, who in the process have also become as sisters, attracted the love of the community for which the two ladies’ bus is a lifeline and found themselves on an unusual, but highly effective diet.
Nanjing is a large place, the size of the US state of Delaware, in fact, while the city and its rural districts are connected by over 300 public bus routes. The longest of these, the number 502 bus joins Hangzhong Men with the east station in Fangzhou Plaza in far-flung northern district of Liuhe.
The 50-kilometre run takes in 59 stops, meaning that a one way trip between termini takes 3 hours.
He Luping, 38, is the only female driver on the route. In the past, she worked the route with her husband, and took over the driving duty only when he was forced to give up due to a health condition. She is joined now by Ren Ximei, 36, who sells tickets and makes sure their bus is always spotless, reports the Yangtze Evening News.
On account of the length of the route, the most common issue the two run across is that of sleeping passengers. Not long ago, a 70 year old lady set out with the aim of visiting a friend in hospital. Having fallen asleep, upon waking, it became apparent she was now well and truly lost. The two communities heroes had no choice but to return the old lady, the entire length of the route, all the way back to Liuhe. Unable to contact her family, the police were called in for assistance. Happily, the old lady was soon reunited with her nearest and dearest.
Yet, the single biggest influencer on the lives of these two dedicated ladies concerns more the practicality of everyday life. Spending 6 hours on the road every day, with only one break in the middle, has meant that He and Ren are mindful of only having the tiniest sip of water from time to time, while solids are an absolute no no.
Hopefully, the two of them find time to make that up on their days off.