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Female Only Buses Raise Eyebrows in Zhengzhou

(CRI Online)    19:46, April 29, 2016

A photo shows the female-only bus in central China's Zhengzhou City, Henan Province. [Photo: dahe.cn]

A female-only bus service now operational in Henan's capital, Zhengzhou, is reportedly being met with mixed reactions among commuters in that city.

It's 8 am on a weekday in Zhengzhou. A Route 906 bus is pulling in towards a bus stop, where a crowd of commuters have been anxiously waiting.

However, only certian passengers are allowed onto the bus, which carries a big red sign by its front window that read "Females Only."

The service was recently launched by the local transit operator in Zhengzhou to create a safe commuting environment for female passengers.

"I only realized this was a female-only bus after I got on. It's a good idea. Women like to wear skirts in the summer, which makes our commute a bit inconvenient at times. This is a good move."

"Now that summer is here, I can wear dresses and skirts and feel safe."

"I hope there will be more female-only buses on the roads in Zhengzhou. I think even the subway system should consider opening female-only cars."

The female-only buses are offered during morning and evening rush hours.

It is the latest in a series of services catering to female passengers by the local bus operator in Zhengzhou, which has also set up private feeding areas for new mothers at its bus stations.

While most of the women asked appear to support the new women-only buses, some men are also on-board with the idea.

"This is a very humane and considerate service for women. In the summer, there are often cases of sexual harassment or misconduct on buses. But now there is a safer option. If you mix men and women, there can be inconveniences for the women."

However, not all men who ride the buses in Zhengzhou aren't so enthusiastic about the service, including this elderly gentleman who was caught off-guard when told he wasn't able to board the bus.

"This is called discrimination! This is a public bus, and you are discriminating against men! You have a special female bus, but what about us elderly people? You can't operate like this!"

Others argue that instead of providing gender specific services, the bus company should develop other ways to better serve its passengers.

This bus driver is one of them.

"I'm a bus driver in Zhengzhou. I think the bus company is simply making a show of it with its female-only service. During rush hours, many commuters are anxiously waiting to get to where the need to go. We should be thinking about how to come up with better routes, as well as regulate passenger behavior. I don't think it's appropriate to allocate public resources for a specific group."

The bus company says the service is only in its trial run.

Depending on the public reception, the company will decide whether to expand the service to more routes.

A small-scale online poll by Sina News shows a nearly equal divide between supporters and opponents of the female-specific service.

Over 40-percent of those who took the survey admit they have seen inappropriate behavior against women on public transportation.

While new in China, female-only public transport services have long been available in neighboring countries, such as Japan and Vietnam.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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