Could the staple of every American child’s education be rumbling along Chinese streets in the near future? A classic yellow “Long Nose” American school bus attracted a large audience and was the center of attention at Beijing’s International School Bus Exhibition held on February 16th.
Netizens have been enviously eying the United States’ seemingly invincible fleet of yellow behemoths for years, with attention peaking recently in the wake of two tragic accidents last fall. The first in Gansu province left 19 school children dead after their minibus collided with a truck in November. Less than one month later in Jiangsu, 15 children died after their bus skidded off the road and overturned in a river.
Prompted partially by a widely circulated picture of a totaled Hummer H2 underneath a barely scathed bus, many netizens now see adopting an American-style school bus as a necessary step in overhauling China’s school transportation system.
What remains to be seen, however, is just how these 12 meter monstrosities will navigate Beijing’s winding hutongs, who will be paying the $70,000 price tag per vehicle, and whether the buses will include detailed instructions on how to make spitballs, how to scribble swear-words on the seats, and how to annoy the driver until (s)he pulls over and suffers a nervous breakdown amid awkward silence.