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City to spend US$379m on 3,200 new buses

Shanghai local government is to spend 2.6 billion yuan (US$379.8 million) this year on new buses to service city routes, according to transport administration officials.


The authority also say they will continue to expand bus routes to suburban residential areas, enhance the fare discount policy and raise salaries for bus crews. Shanghai Urban Transport and Port Administration said the government's 2.6-billion-yuan investment would buy more than 3,200 buses costing almost 800,000 yuan each.


"Compared to our previous practice of offering compensation to encourage bus companies to replace old buses, the new plan should work directly and more effectively," said Li Jielin, an administration official.


The new buses will not only ensure better service for passengers but would also reduce emissions, the administration said.


Since early last year, the city's different bus companies have been merging or have been purchased by the government.


Eventually, Pudong New Area and Puxi will each have a bus company in charge of regional routes while the city's seven suburban districts will also have their own bus operator.


All nine companies will be state-owned and managed. Officials believe that with the government in charge of the industry, making improvements will be easier.


Officials said local transit buses carried 4.9 billion passengers last year, accounting for 28 percent of those using the public transport.


(Shanghai Daily February 3, 2009)