Oddities of Chinese Buses

So I’m waiting at the station for my bus to depart and I see the driver filling up the tank. Smoking a cigarette. Terrified, as scenes of Zoolander race before me. And that’s when I realize that, indeed, all the buses in the city of Zhuhai are electric, not gas, which makes me wonder: Is the city truly a green city, or does the ubiquity of smoking force their hand at the risk of exploding gas tanks? My logic tells me obviously the former, but my cynicism heavily believes in the latter.

Chinese transportation is honestly phenomenal, and once you get beyond a few quirks, you’ll find it’s extensive, reasonably speedy and cheap because of subsidies. So long as they don’t smoke when pumping actual gas, I’m on board.

Chinese buses occasionally are less than clean. Especially in the south, there can be the pervasive view and scent of mold. Very rarely is that pleasant, unless of course, you’re the sort of person who likes mold. In that case, you could just ride around on Chinese buses all day.

They are generally subsidized and as such, they are generally very cheap and frequent. I once walked into a bus station in Foshan, Guangdong looking for a ticket to Zhuhai, the same province but a few hours away. It was 50RMB (about $7.50) and it left every 30 minutes for virtually the entire day. Intraprovincial buses are more convenient and more frequent than city buses in many major US metro areas.

The stations are all centrally located for the most part so you can zip from city center to city center with relative ease. And if you don’t speak Chinese, you have two options. 1) Hope that someone does, which is usually the case in large cities. 2) Gesticulate wildly, which use has the desired outcome of finding the right bus (side effects include loss of dignity and attracting more attention onto oneself).

All in all, Chinese transportation has a good thing going with just a few oddities.

Let me know what you think of Chinese bus or trains!



Like what you’re reading on China? Check out some other related articles in: The China Chronicles!

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