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School bus crash sounds safety alarm (2)

By Chen Jia  (China Daily)

08:56, November 21, 2011

But each child only pays 3 yuan (47 cents) to take the overloaded bus every day, which is an acceptable price for a rural family.

It is also the only choice for most rural families, as about one-third of the students live with grandparents who can't take them back and forth each day. Some children have to travel 15 kilometers.

He is worried that an accident like the one that killed 21 children could occur again, affecting the students at the kindergarten.

The only way to solve the problem is to buy two more vans. "But I spent more than 200,000 yuan to purchase three vans in 2008, and I spend 50,000 yuan on the drivers' wages and fuel every year," He said.

"We know that the school buses are overloaded and we complain about it, but we have no better choice. It is the only economic way to send children to the only kindergarten in our county," said a villager surnamed Yang in Qingyang.

"Parents want to save money as the average income for a local family is about 1,000 yuan. And the overloaded school bus only charges every student 50 yuan for one term," said an unidentified teacher at the Little Doctor Kindergarten in Qingyang city, where the children in the fatal accident attended school.

"The central government has not allocated money for a school bus budget, and many local governments also don't want to invest unless they are ordered to do so," Yuan said.

"The Ministry of Education should be given more power to take responsibility for school bus operations and coordinate with the public security authorities and other relevant departments," he said

"Schools should include the management and operation of school buses into their logistical system in order to better handle this problem."

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