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State-owned company set up to run Puxi buses

A state-owned bus company was established in Shanghai yesterday to take over the running of all bus services in Puxi as part of the local government's reform of Shanghai's bus system.

The Shanghai Ba-Shi Co Ltd, with a registered capital of 300 million yuan (US$44 million), will run more than 600 transit bus routes, mostly downtown.

The government has established the company as part of its plans to rationalize bus services and make them cheaper and more commuter-friendly.

The government is currently buying and merging bus companies across the city. By the end of last year there were 43 transit bus companies in Shanghai. That will be cut down to 20 bus operators by May next year, the transport authority said yesterday.

Bus routes, accordingly, will be streamlined and improved. Poorly patronized routes will be cut while new routes will be established.

Government official Sun Jianping said yesterday a recent survey showed commuters found buses the least pleasant form of public transport in the city. Complaints included disorder onboard and at bus stations as well as the attitude of bus crews.

The government believes resuming control of the city's bus system would improve efficiency and service quality and speed up updating of the bus fleets.

Better salaries

The government also promised that the new state-owned bus companies would increase the salaries of bus crews to help improve service. Currently bus crew earn less than 2,000 yuan a month while the average local monthly income is about 3,300 yuan.

The government's reform of the bus industry started in 1996 when it allowed private companies to enter the market to help boost capacity.

The government's next reform came in 2002 when it increased subsidies to bus operators to help cover fuel costs and replace older vehicles.

The government says this latest reform is needed because the city needs more bus routes and more efficient routes to match up with its expanding Metro network and increasing suburban population. Buses also need to be more environmentally friendly.

The government is planning to invest heavily in the system to improve bus traffic. The network of bus-only lanes will be expanded while 90 percent of downtown buses will be installed with global positioning systems to help prioritize their movement through traffic.

A similar state-owned bus company was established in Pudong at the end of last year. Companies will also be set up in seven suburban districts to run bus services.


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