Last week, QQ featured a slide show on the new electric buses that have rolled out onto Chengdu's streets.
Ten fully electricity-powered buses officially started operation on the No. 16 and 28 bus lines on Friday morning. Although there will be a projected 250 such vehicles on the streets by 2012, currently the buses run only during peak hours due to their limited numbers.
According to the Chengdu Commercial Daily, a number of passengers didn't pay particular attention to the fact that they were boarding the very first electric bus in the city when they got on at the South Train Station stop Friday morning. Nonetheless, most said that they thought it was a good thing, and that the ride was comfortable.
Titled "Electric Mass Transit, Toward a Low-Carbon Life" QQ's presentation emphasizes the "humanization" of the bus design, showcasing the features that have been included to enhance the safety and comfort of passengers.
(Click here to view the photos; click on the arrows to view all slides.)
Slide 2: There are two styles of bus, one is 10 meters long and the other is 12 meters.
Slide 3 shows the bus charging stations.
Slide 4: The chassis is relatively low to the ground but it can be raised within five seconds at the flick of a switch.
Slide 5: The grab-bars have been fitted with rubberized grips that will make it easier to hold onto.
Slide 6: The fare for riding the electric bus is currently the same as for other buses: 2 yuan during the day and 3 yuan after 10 p.m. Both cash and bus cards are accepted.
Slide 7: Instead of showing the gas meter, the dashboard on this bus displays the remaining charge on the battery, the battery temperature, and so on.
Slide 8: A screen also shows footage of what's going on in all four directions around the bus
Slide 9: The driver has his or her own cockpit in the bus
Slide 10: There is also a fold-down ramp to enable people in wheelchairs to ascend onto the bus.
Slide 11: A special red button marked "STOP" is put in place so that wheelchair-bound passengers can notify the driver that they want to get off the bus. When the bus stops, the driver will know to deploy the back-door ramp. [Why the sign is in English only is not explained.]
Slide 12: The seats opposite the back door fold up to make room for wheelchairs. The space is furnished with safety belts that can also be used by passengers sitting in the fold-out seats.
Slide 13: It's not hard plastic seats anymore, Toto! The other seats are cushioned and upholstered in [sweet early 90s design] fabric. And there are seatbelts.