A bus company is under fire for allegedly abusing its drivers and refusing to accept payments for work done.
The Beijing bus company, Beijing Bus Service, is currently being investigated by China’s National Transport Administration for its alleged abuse of drivers.
It says it has been in regular contact with the police and has requested the National Transport Agency to look into the matter.
According to local media reports, the National Transportation Agency (NTA) has started a formal investigation into the case and has promised to investigate the company’s claims of abuse.
“The NTA will investigate every case where allegations are made, to the fullest extent possible,” a spokesperson for the NTA said.
Qingdu, a city of over 2 million people in central China, is a major bus hub.
This is not the first time that Beijing Bus has been caught red-handed.
In November 2016, a report by the New York Times revealed the company had been caught using illegal tactics to extract bribes from drivers.
Qingde, which is based in Shenzhen, China, has been one of China’s top bus operators for more than 50 years.
A spokesperson for Qingde told Reuters the company has been under scrutiny for years.
“We are constantly improving our customer service, but some of our drivers are still not being paid and are suffering from health problems,” he said.
“It’s a sad story, but we can’t afford to lose our customers and are determined to fix this problem.”
The Beijing Bus company’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Local media reports say some drivers are under pressure to get paid after being unable to secure a regular job.
Drivers say they often have to drive two to three hours to make ends meet.
On average, the Q-60 bus runs every 15 minutes, and a total of 1.2 million passengers a day take the bus, according to Beijing’s transport ministry.
But in recent years, the company says it’s been forced to reduce the number of its buses because of rising costs, a shortage of drivers and a growing demand for alternative modes of transport.
Last month, the NGA launched an investigation into Q-80 bus, another bus company which operates in the capital, which had also been implicated in the same allegations.
The NGA said in a statement that the probe would take time and would be conducted according to a strict legal framework.
However, Beijing’s Transport Ministry has so far declined to confirm or deny the investigation.
Some of the allegations that the Nga is looking into include claims that drivers were paid less than the minimum wage and were often required to work overtime in order to afford their bus fares.
Other claims are that drivers would be forced to work as much as 16 hours a day, sometimes up to 18 hours a night, on a fixed-route schedule.