A dispute mediation bus, the first of its kind not only in Beijing but the whole of China, fired up its engine for the first time on Tuesday and hit the road to solve problems that flare up on public buses.
Two mediators, both retired police officers, will be joined by one serving police officer on the bus.
The service is the latest attempt by the public transport group of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) to reduce altercations on public buses.
Disputes among people using public transit have increased by 20 percent annually in recent years, mainly because of overcrowding, problems with tickets and late-running buses, said Ning Tongtong, a press officer with the PSB's public transport group.
"Because bus stations are so widespread, police officers cannot always arrive on time to resolve disputes," said Ning. "But the mediation bus can move around and arrive at the spot in time. It will be very convenient for the public."
The vehicle has been operated on a trail basis in the Fragrant Hills area since Oct 15, during the massive gatherings there of people looking to see the maple leaves turning red. The vehicle has helped with the resolution of about 10 disputes.
Passengers can request the bus by calling 110 or by dialing 6401-1327 or by sending a text to 139-1199-1234.
The meditation service is voluntary and free.
Ning said there will likely be around 10 such buses in the city next year.
"Hopefully, some enterprises can sponsor some of the buses for us," Ning said.
In addition to the mobile mediation bus, two mediation rooms, which are aimed at helping resolve disputes on the subway or in taxis, have also been in use since October.
Traffic police have handled more than 30 disputes in one month in the two rooms.
(China Daily 11/03/2010)