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Cities boost bus safety after fatal blaze

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Xiamen | China Daily | Updated: 2013-06-13 07:13

Cities boost bus safety after fatal blaze

A worker in Xiamen, Fujian province, demonstrates an emergency device that can break a bus window to allow passengers to escape. ZENG DEMENG / FOR CHINA DAILY 


Glass-breaking devices installed; baggage checks to be implemented

Cities nationwide are improving the safety of public transportation after 47 people died in a bus blaze in Xiamen.

Ruan Yueguo, transportation director of Xiamen, Fujian province, said undercover security guards will be placed on buses to monitor behavior.

Bus companies have also been ordered to carry out checks for hidden dangers, and each vehicle now has to carry at least three hammers to allow passengers to break windows in an emergency.

As these hammers are often stolen, companies say they have assigned personnel to check each bus before it leaves the depot.

The transportation authority has also deployed inspectors to patrol stations on the city's rapid transit system, known as the BRT, and check luggage for dangerous items.

On Tuesday, the Xiamen Golden Dragon Vans company tested a device that allows a driver to break a vehicle's windows at the push of a button. Windows have also been designed to allow passengers to break them without risk of injury.

Xiamen Mayor Liu Keqing urged bus companies to install glass-breaking devices on all 165 BRT vehicles as soon as possible to prevent disasters.

Buses in Wuhan, Hubei province, have also been fitted with at least three emergency hammers, with alarms installed to deter thieves, authorities said.

Beijing Public Security Bureau has tightened security at busy bus stations and ordered baggage checks.

In Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, security officers have been assigned to transit system stations since Sunday. Passengers now have to drink bottled water and other beverages they carry into the stations if security machines can't identify them.

More law enforcement officers have been stationed at metro stations in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province, where X-ray scanners have been installed to check for explosives, liquids and metals.

The city's transport authority has ordered bus safety checks to find and eliminate safety hazards.

On Friday, a bus in Xiamen burst into flames on an elevated road. DNA tests of the 47 who died were completed on Monday afternoon and names of the victims - 22 males and 25 females - were released on Tuesday.

Police said Chen Shuizong, 59, from Xiamen, started the fire using about 10 liters of gasoline to vent his grievances. He was among those who died in the fire.

Contact the writers at sunli@chinadaily.com.cn and humeidong@chinadaily.com.cn


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