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Construction workers cool down in designated air-conditioned buses

Updated: 2022-07-22 08:37 ( Xinhua )
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As the clock struck noon, Cai Kaijun, an urban construction worker, boarded a free air-conditioned bus stationed outside the work site to get some rest after working all morning in the searing heat.

In July, heat waves affect many parts of China, including Yichang city in Central China's Hubei province, bringing challenges to outdoor workers. To offer them some relief from the excruciatingly hot weather, Yichang Public Transport began a public service campaign starting July 8, parking nine air-conditioned buses at eight points in the city from noon to 3 pm for them to enjoy a cool nap.

The relatively new buses have a strong cooling capacity, maintaining an internal temperature at about 26 C.

"Due to the heat, not many passengers use buses during noontime in Yichang. So, during this time we allocate vehicles from bus routes with excess transport capacity to be stationed near eight urban construction sites for the workers to rest," says Wang Jie, deputy general manager of Yichang Public Transport.

Daily necessities, including water and heatstroke prevention medicines, are available in these vehicles. The windows are equipped with curtains offering privacy to the workers. In addition, most of these buses are low noise, all-electric vehicles, offering a quiet environment for rest.

"I come to the bus every day. Thanks to the air conditioning, I feel refreshed after some much-needed rest," Cai says.

Unlike other construction workers, those employed on urban utility projects cannot set up sheds near construction sites to rest during their lunch break. "I once spotted some workers resting under a bridge on a sweltering day in a noisy environment. I wanted to do something for them and the idea of providing air-conditioned buses occurred to me," Wang says.

Wang's idea got support from his colleagues. Guo Yong, a bus driver who volunteered to take part in Wang's initiative, says: "It has been only about two years since all buses in the city got air conditioning, so we know what it is like for the outdoor workers in the summer heat."

To make these air-conditioned buses more attractive, Li Jiabing, a manager of the public transport company, had the buses repainted in blue and green and emblazoned with a slogan that says: You sweat to build our city; we provide you a cool place for nap.

The initiative has also received widespread support from residents and local enterprises. They send watermelons and drinks for the workers.

"One middle school student used his birthday party money to buy 10 packs of bottled water for the workers," Wang says.

"The buses will remain there until the end of the high-temperature period," he says, adding that more people can now enjoy the service, including delivery people, sanitation workers and passersby.

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