Blue Bird Corp. was the only American school bus manufacturer to attend a first-ever exhibition on school buses held in Beijing last month, and the company said it is exploring partnerships with local companies.
Blue Bird displayed its flagship Type C Conventional Vision at the China International School Bus Development Forum and Exhibition that was sanctioned by the Ministry of Education. Blue Bird representatives said “many” Chinese bus manufacturers were also in attendance.
The Chinese government has been calling for more stringent student transportation standards in the country since a November crash involving a nine-passenger school bus crammed with 62 kindergarten students was struck head-on by a commercial truck in Gansu Province. Twenty-one of the students were killed, and 41 were injured.
Blue Bird said thousands of trade show attendees, including government officials, media and potential customers, visited the company’s booth and Vision school bus between Feb. 15 and 18.
“We are very grateful to have been invited to participate and are appreciative of the warm welcome and genuine interest from everyone. Blue Bird is only too pleased to assist China in any way possible to address the key issue of safe student transportation,” said Phil Horlock, Blue Bird’s president and CEO. “American school transportation methods are proven, safe and reliable, with over 24 million American children transported on yellow school buses each day.”
Blue Bird representatives also used the trip to meet with several Chinese bus manufacturers and to review engineering and assembly processes used to manufacture Chinese school buses.
“China is working to achieve a safer, more reliable form of student transportation, and the enthusiasm at this outstanding show is evidence of that,” Horlock added.
The company said in a statement that it is exploring partnership opportunities but no final agreements had been reached at this writing. Blue Bird added that more than half of its 500,000 buses that have been manufactured since 1927 are still in use in 60 nations worldwide.