GUANGZHOU • A Chinese bus company has introduced a vehicle with new safety windows that allow passengers to leave the bus quickly during emergencies.
The electric-powered bus, designed by the Municipal Commission of Transport in Guangzhou, will first undergo trial runs, reported Xinhua news agency on Saturday.
"In the case of explosion or fire, people can escape through nine exits," said Mr Zhao Jiantong, manager of the information office of the Guangzhou electrical bus company.
He was referring to the two exit doors normally found on buses and seven new safety windows.
According to Mr Zhao, there are eight emergency buttons inside the bus. One of the buttons is for the driver, while the remaining seven are for passengers, reported Guangzhou Daily.
There are seven safety windows which open automatically when the driver presses the emergency button. These windows are larger than those on the old buses, and are positioned lower to allow seniors and children to escape.
Once the emergency button is activated, the electronic screen that displays the bus number will be changed to "SOS" and emergency lights and alarms will go off.
The new vehicle is also equipped with a "black box" that automatically sends data and footage from the bus to the control centre during an emergency.
The new safety features unveiled by Guangzhou's Municipal Commission of Transport came amid heightened safety concerns over long-distance buses and tour buses.
Last month, a tour bus with 24 mainland Chinese tourists caught fire and crashed in the deadliest accident involving mainland tourists in Taiwan. The Taiwanese bus driver and tour guide were also killed.
Investigations revealed that the bus' emergency exit did not work and the passengers were seen pounding on the windows in their attempt to escape the flames.
The accident occurred just weeks after more than 30 people were killed after a coach crashed and caught fire in China's central province of Hunan.
China has seen a string of fatal bus fires in recent years. Long-distance buses are popular in China as an affordable way of travelling between cities, and competition between bus firms can be fierce.