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Bus firm offers free rides for elderly
By Wang Qian (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-12-10 07:16

A Beijing bus operator will allow 1.6 million people aged 65 and above to travel free on its buses from Jan 1.

Peng Zilin, director of publicity for Beijing Public Transport Holdings Ltd (BPT), said Tuesday all the company's buses have been renovated to ensure that more than 10 percent of seats are reserved for the elderly, children, pregnant women, and the disabled.

BPT statistics show there were 1.6 million people aged 65 or above at the end of last year, and this figure will grow to 1.9 million by 2010.

Before the middle of this month, all BPT drivers and conductors will have to pass a test on the new rules.

Peng said drivers and conductors were also told buses must not be driven until all needy passengers are given seats.

It is not compulsory for a passenger to give up a seat, and such requests by drivers and conductors are often ignored.

Ping said he hoped passengers would abide by the company new rules.

Liu Runfang, a BPT spokesman, said more details about the rules will be given at a press conference on Dec 20.

Of 9,396 people polled by, more than half said they supported the new rules, because respect for the aged "is a traditional virtue".

Chen Ying, 82, said traveling by bus will be a new option for her and her wheelchair-bound husband, Wang Tingbi.

"For people like my husband, it is very important that they are properly seated before the bus moves," she said.

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