Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chinese Bus Inspection

I hate working on Saturdays.

I’ve said it once; I’ve said it a thousand times. Working a half day on the weekend really changes my whole routine…and it’s probably one of the more annoying parts of my job.

However, every time I commute to work to work on a Saturday, it seems that I see something interesting. Last time I wrote Shenzhen: Diversity of Languages that was initiated from my Saturday bus ride. On my most recent Saturday commute, I saw something interesting regarding regulation of buses.

I have a lot of choices for buses going from my apartment to the factory. Although there are direct buses that do the job, when I’m pressed for time, I take more frequently occurring buses and transfer later. I would take the first bus about 90% of the way and get off at the 沙弯海关 stop. I would then wait for a Shenzhen mini-bus (which is still allowed to operate outside of the main city limits) to the front of the factory.

On this particular day, I was waiting at the沙弯海关 stop and saw a group of 3 men in official uniforms, hanging out at the stop. I didn't make that much of it at first, but when a minibus finally arrived, it got pulled over. One of the men in uniform boarded the bus and asked for the workers to get off. From a distance, I could see the officer examine the interior of the bus. The bus driver quickly and very “graciously” showed the officer all of his proper paperwork for the vehicle as well as the necessary worker permits for the employees.

Although I thought the inspection was interesting, I was initially more annoyed than interested. My boss at work gave people shit for being on time. If you were late, he would castrate you in front of everyone. With this in mind, I was constantly waiting for other buses that would take me the final few stops.

During my wait, 3 buses came and went without stopping at the designated stop. Just as these buses were slowing down, the driver would notice the minibus being examined by the officers and speed off. When I noticed that no one wanted to be inspected, I just had to find out more of what’s going on.

As I walk back towards the minibus to talk to the 2 officers on the side, I noticed that the examining officer was now onto the bus exterior. The officer walked around the minibus, checking out the bumper, the sides, license plates, everything. It was definitely very thorough.

When I asked the officers what was going on, they explained that this was a standard inspection that takes place every 2 months. They are looking for anything that violates safety and regulatory standards for buses. There were also supposed instances where some buses were “fake”. These black buses were not registered and were impersonating real buses. (Anything is possible in China).

The minibus ended up passing the inspection which took about 8 minutes total. And since no other buses were stopping, I quickly got on. As we left the stop, the driver quickly got onto his cell phone and radio intercom to warn other bus drivers that an inspection was happening at the沙弯海关 stop. I guess everyone wanted to avoid these safety exams.

I guess it’s just another day in Shenzhen, China.


richard h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richard h said...

Hi Mike, have just discovered this blog and would be interested to hear what you have to say about the proposed intergration of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, particularly from the SZ perspective: Recently wrote about this on my blog.

Anonymous said...

hi,Mike,I love reading your stories about what you experienced in Shenzhe. I am currently living in Dongguan,working in a Souring company owned by American boss. I would be glad to be friends with you! My qq number is 750238792! Wish chat with you on the net! My msn,
I have a lot of friends in Pearl River Delta Region who can understand both English and Chinese!