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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Legal limbo leads to school bus ban

By Wei Na (Global Times)

16:49, February 16, 2012

Over 900 primary school students in Tongzhou district started the new school semester without any means of safely getting to class, after public bus companies suspended operations as they await new regulations, which will not be issued for at least another month.

Many of the children have to travel up to two hours to get home to the district's scattered rural villages.

Yesterday afternoon, there were over 100 parents waiting with bicycles and electric tricycles at the gate of Xiaozhangwan Elementary School, Majuqiao Township, Tongzhou district. They had been told last Friday the regular transport, the No.927 bus, would be unavailable, as it is not certified to be a school bus.

"This is such a disaster," said a local resident surnamed Wang, whose granddaughter goes to Xiaozhangwan.

"Most kids now are taken home by us, the grandparents, since their parents are busy at work, but it's very frustrating for people at our age to commute quite far every day," said Wang.

"With several hundred people blocking this narrow intersection, look how dangerous it is for the kids and us. We don't understand why they had to cancel the bus and bring this mess," said Wang.

The families of the school children are spread over 10 villages in the area. Parents were upset and angry, they said, and did not understand why their children could not travel on the No.927 bus, for which they paid 150 yuan ($24) per semester.

"There used to be minibuses organized by each village to take the children, and then we were told it's only legal and safe to travel by bus," said a parent surnamed Zhang from Guo village.

"Now the kids are used to riding in the No.927, but all of sudden, there's no legal vehicle at all?" said Zhang.

It takes Zhang over 40 minutes to drive his son home on his electric bicycle, while for others, it is a two-hour journey.

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