An official investigation into a fire which killed 41 bus passengers late last month has yet to definitively explain the accident, but overcrowding and circumvention of security checks appear to have contributed. Both are said to be results of private contractors’ attempts to fatten up thin profit margins. From Caixin:
Transportation networks in China are known for congestion, and the same is true for the vehicles themselves. Long-distance buses routinely take on more passengers than the law permits. With a passenger capacity of 35 passengers, the bus was overloaded with 47 people when the fire broke out ….
Caixin interviewed a bus route operator who asked to be referred to as Xiao Hua and who said long-distance buses tend to be overloaded because private contractors operate on low profit margins ….
With the investigation still ongoing, one possible scenario links the cause of the explosion to flammable materials in the luggage trunk ignited by high temperatures from the engine located at the back of the bus ….
Police are still investigating who brought the explosives onboard. Many bus stations have installed screening devices for flammable, explosive and other hazardous goods, but the measures are of no use when bus conductors regularly solicit passengers from outside the stations.