The county of Dancheng in China's central Henan province stopped its bus service on Aug. 12 after its drivers went without pay for several months.
Local authorities forced privately-owned Dancheng Public Transportation Company to resume operations on Aug. 13 but the company complained about a lack of financial support.
The manager talked about a lack of passengers but did not mention if the COVID-19 pandemic or related lockdowns contributed to the suspension of its service.
But the local authorities blamed the company's decisions for its economic difficulties.
“[The company] increased the price from 1 yuan ($0.15) to 2 yuan ($0.3) per trip, and changed the schedule from running a bus every 15 minutes to 20 or even 30 minutes,” a county official told Yicai on Aug. 13. “Its business strategy directly caused the financial failure.”
The official said the $0.3 price is too high for people in Dancheng.
But the bus company had a different opinion.
Suspended BusesDancheng has a population of 1.37 million and covers some 575 square miles in area. Buses are the only form of public transportation and the bus suspension hurt those needing the service on Aug. 12.
Local media Dahe reported that the company has over 100 buses, but had only 50 drivers on the books in July.
“The company severely lacks drivers,” Dahe wrote.
Dancheng Public Transportation company was founded in 2016 and uses so-called green energy buses, by which it could receive the subsidy.
Unsolved ProblemOn Aug. 13, the company resumed the operation of line 1, 2, and 5, as requested by county authorities but said it might have to suspend its operations at any time in the future.
The manager said the company's revenue wasn’t enough to buy the electricity to charge the bus, let alone to pay salaries.