Passengers and even bus drivers duped as 45 fake bus stops appear in Chinese city

Shelters look like any others in Hefei, and local authorities believe they were installed by an ad agency

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 July, 2018, 8:09pm

At least 45 new bus stops have sprung up in one district of a city in eastern China – but the government says none of them have been approved, and the public transport department believes they were installed by an advertising company.

The unauthorised bus stops – all of them in Yaohai district, Hefei – were identified by officials from the Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau earlier this week, Anhui News reported on Friday.

Officials in the Anhui provincial capital say they do not know who built the bus stops without permission, but the Public Transport Group said all of them were plastered in advertising, so an agency could be behind them, according to Xinan Evening News.

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The district’s Urban Management Administration on Tuesday issued a notice saying the illegal bus stops must be removed within three days or the authorities would demolish them.

As of Friday, no one had contacted the authorities about the bus stops, Xinan Evening News reported.

Several of the bus stop ads were for an education centre, which said it believed it had paid for legitimate advertising space.

“We were approached by the advertising agency in the first place. We were actually looking to advertise, so we decided to go with them,” an employee from the education centre told Anhui News, without elaborating.

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The bus shelters look like any others in the city, and for passengers there was no reason not to stand at one and wait for the next bus. Drivers were apparently unaware that they were not official stops either.

One man, identified only by his surname Liu, told Anhui News he had been catching a bus from one of the shelters every day for some time, and he had no idea it was not a real bus stop.

But the fake bus stops may not be confined to Yaohai district. A source told the newspaper that the Public Transport Group had extended its investigation to other parts of the city, and found 22 more unauthorised bus stops had been built recently near thoroughfares including Huan Hu Bei Road, Tai He Road and Guzhen Road.

Three more illegal bus stops had been identified in Shen Zhang district by a separate government department, according to the report.