Hebei city is trying to improve its reputation as one of China’s most polluted shitholes by letting everyone ride the bus for free.
From November 15th until March 15th this winter, commuters in the city of Cangzhou won’t have to pay a single fen for any public bus rides. Of course, this period of time coincides with home heating season in northern China when the skies are regularly grey and smoggy.
And the skies are known to get particularly grim in Cangzhou. Back in 2013, it ranked as China’s 12th most polluted city and in 2016 it was ranked 48th worldwide by the World Health Organization. At the moment, the AQI there is an “unhealthy” 117, more than three times higher than even China’s air quality standards.
While some have worried that the new policy will mean hellish commutes for regular bus-riders, most netizens have generally applauded the move. It remains to be seen if free bus rides will actually be enough to get air pollution under control, however, at the very least, it should reduce the number of fights that break out between bus drivers and passengers.