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China's struggling bus operators highlight local fiscal woes

Municipal governments suffer from COVID controls, loss of revenue and subsidies

In an announcement on Feb. 23, the company Shangqiu Public Transportation in Henan province said it was suspending operations. Photo: Shangqiu Public Transportation

A bus operator in a city in central China said it would suspend services due to mounting losses stemming from the pandemic and dwindling subsidies, before rescinding the decision after the government stepped in, highlighting the fiscal headaches of local authorities nationwide.

The losses at Shangqiu Public Transportation had been so severe that it couldn't afford to pay salaries, social insurance contributions for its employees, electricity bills to charge its buses, or vehicle insurance, according to screenshots of an announcement from the company on Thursday morning that made the rounds on social media.

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