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July 8, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Bus driver barriers back on agenda

A SERIES of attacks on city bus drivers has reopened debate on whether they should have protective barriers.

Alarm systems are already being fitted to thousands more buses.

City traffic authorities have previously considered introducing barriers like those separating taxi drivers from passengers.

"We are in talks with city traffic authorities and police to find whether it's feasible," said Xu Jie, the general manager with bus operator Shanghai Bashi Group.

Xu said the spate of attacks has made them reconsider drivers' safety, and that the concern is shared by local traffic officials.

However, officials also said these measures could give the impression "that the city is unsafe."

Xu said frequent attacks "have affected bus drivers psychologically."

On Wednesday, a bus driver of No. 909 route was stabbed in the neck by a man complaining about the volume of the onboard TV.

On the same route, another driver was confronted by a passenger waving an emergency hammer last Saturday.

One bus driver, surnamed Cao, said he and colleagues are under more pressure nowadays as there are more self-service buses in the city.

"We already take care of almost everything and now also have to worry about our safety," said Cao.

The city bus operator said in view of the attacks it would speed up the process of fitting alarm buttons.

The equipment, which is linked to an emergency control center, will be fitted in 7,000 city buses by the end of this month, said Shanghai Bashi.

The number will exceed 10,000 this year. The city has more than 18,000 buses in service.

Surveillance cameras onboard will also be adjusted to cover more angles, said the operator.

Manager Xu said the company also plans to set up an instant communications system onboard.

Bashi said the company will extend cooperation with city police to draw attention to problems of theft onboard.

Meanwhile, bus driver Xu Yuanlin, who was stabbed in the neck in Wednesday's attack, underwent a second operation yesterday and was still in the intensive care unit.


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