no suspicious bags, please

July 30th, 2008

It’s the kind of headline that leaves you with a giant “But how?!” hanging in the centre of your brain, and so you just have to open it:


 Beijing public transport to begin bomb-prevention security checks day after tomorrow

Obviously, they can’t set up x-ray machines in every bus door…..


Drivers and attendants have no right to open bags to check, will politely refuse passengers carrying suspicious packages

Yes, but…..

新京报/The Beijing News reports:



Starting from August 1, Beijing bus stations and vehicles will implement bomb-prevention security checks, vice general manager of the Beijing Public Transport Group Feng Qingfu revealed yesterday. If a suspicious package and completely suspicious person is discovered, they will not be allowed to enter the bus.


Feng Qingfu said, Beijing’s buses can’t install equipment for safety inspections at sealed entrances like the airport or subway, so to ensure a safe Olympics, the Beijing Public Transport Group will organise 5000 to 7000 drivers and attendants who have already received specialist training to carry out safety inspections at many of Beijing’s bus stops and on buses.


He said these drivers and attendants have no right to open passengers’ bags for inspection, the important thing is to go through “First look, second smell, third ask”, carry testing equipment and implement inspection measures.


If a suspicious package is discovered, the drivers and attendants will politely refuse to allow the passenger to bring it on the bus or refuse to allow the passenger on the bus. If an incident breaks out, the drivers and attendants will immediately dial 110 to report it to the police.


He said Beijing’s public transport will actively take part in three exercises before the opening of the Olympics. During the Olympics, will provide the most quick and convenient transport service for Chinese and foreign tourists and Beijing residents.


Feng Qingfu revealed that since the implementation of the odds/evens traffic restrictions, the passenger volume on public transport has increased by 1 million person-times, and the daily passenger volume has reached over 13 million person-times.

Notes: I’ve translated ‘公交’ alternatively as either ‘bus’ or ‘public transport’. I may be wrong, but it seems fairly clear to me that the public transport referred to in this articles is of the bus variety. Likewise, it seemed pretty obvious that ‘防爆’ was referring to bombs and not just any kind of explosion. I’m sure they already maintain buses engines, fuel tanks, tires, and other bits that can explode, and Feng Qingfu does talk a lot about suspicious packages and suspicious people. I’m not sure about ‘person-times’- am I being too literal? I don’t know, I’m not sure how passenger volume is measured.

It’ll be interesting to see how this actually works out in practice, although I’m not sure that I’ll find out. I’m much happier on my bike than on any public transport.

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