The number of school buses in Shanghai is falling as the number of private cars rises, creating traffic and safety problems around the city's schools.
Political adviser Xu Jianmin yesterday urged the government to promote the use of school buses.
"The number of private cars is increasing, but school buses are decreasing," he said. "It worsens the traffic jams to some extent."
More buses would reduce traffic congestion, improve safety, ease the burden on parents and help combat air pollution, he said.
"There are about two million students in local kindergartens and schools, most of whom have to commute everyday between homes and schools," he said. "But in Yangpu District alone, the number of school buses was only 40 in 2015, 50 percent fewer than in 2013."
There are an estimated 2,258 school buses in the city, mainly used by schools in suburban areas, private schools and international schools.
Public schools in downtown areas rarely use buses due to safety concerns, although congestion is worse there, Xu said.
"If every student goes to school by a private car, 30 students would need 30 cars, while actually they could all be carried in one bus," he said.
"Since one bus can get 29 cars off the road, I think it can relieve part of the traffic pressure in the city and parents can go to work directly, increasing their work efficiency to some extent."
It would also help reduce air pollution — exhaust fumes are a major cause of the city's haze.
"The harmful gases and particulates emitted by one school bus are much less than those from 30 cars," he said.
It is also a matter of safety. Xu cited US research showed buses were 4.5 times safer than cars.
Last year, a young girl was killed in the Pudong New Area on her way home from school when she fell from a moped being driven by her housekeeper and was hit by another vehicle. The housekeeper told police she had been forced to ride on the motorway because the bicycle lane was blocked by cars as parents waited to pick their children.