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March 22, 2012

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Bus driver stabbed in 2 yuan fare dispute

A MAN has been detained by police after a bus driver was stabbed by a passenger in a dispute over a 2 yuan (32 US cents) fare yesterday morning.

The driver, 49-year-old Jiao Songlin, received life-threatening wounds to his face and neck in the attack on a suburban No. 849 service at about 10am.

Jiao was rushed to hospital having lost a substantial amount of blood and is now in a stable condition following emergency surgery.

The suspect, whose surname is Zhou, is now under police investigation.

This is the latest in a series of attacks on bus drivers in Shanghai, which have raised safety concerns among staff.

Witnesses said the incident occurred when the passenger refused to pay the bus fare, claiming to be disabled and showing the driver a certificate which he said entitled him to free transport.

But Jiao said this was not the correct document and told the passenger that he must buy a ticket, witnesses said.

The pair quarreled until the passenger produced a knife from his pocket and stabbed Jiao, according to witnesses.

Colleagues of Jiao said bus drivers are becoming a "vulnerable group," facing high risks mentally and physically at daily work .

Drivers say they are not given enough protection in their efforts to stop the use of forged free travel passes.

"Nowadays, many people use forged travel passes, but there are no laws to ban or punish them," said a driver, surnamed Wang, who is a colleague of Jiao.

"Quarrels frequently occur when bus drivers recognize fake passes and ask the holders to buy a ticket," Wang said,

"Drivers are required to confiscate fake passes by their company, but as they are no law enforcers, confrontations are inevitable."

Wang and other colleagues told Shanghai Daily that Jiao is an experienced driver renowned among the bus team for his skill in spotting forged passes.

In one year, Jiao confiscated more than 515 fake passes, colleagues said.

Assaults on bus drivers have been making the headlines in the city over the past year.

A man was jailed for three and a half years last autumn for an attack on a female bus driver last May, after she did not stop where he wanted to get off.

Last July, a bus driver was stabbed to death by a man in a dispute over the volume of the onboard television.

The passenger was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve at a local court.

And in a recent incident, a driver suffered light injuries to his right hand and arm after being attacked when he asked a passenger to stop smoking on a No. 950 bus.

City bus operator Shanghai Bashi Co has a reward - called the Award of Sacrifice - it presents to drivers assaulted by passengers but who manage to remain calm in order to keep their passengers safe.


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