Bus route rolls out mini library

Passengers on a No.49 bus can now peruse a range of novels, comics and other books during their commute or while they wait. 
Bus route rolls out mini library
Ti Gong

Passengers read books on a No.49 bus on Tuesday.

Bus No. 49 began offering reading materials to passengers on one of its buses on Tuesday.

It is the first bus in Shanghai to offer passengers a range of magazines, newspapers and storybooks.

Meanwhile, a small book lending cabinet was set up at the route's terminal station, Shanghai Indoor Stadium, where waiting passengers can borrow books with a 10 yuan deposit (US$1.5).

“Passengers only need to leave their phone number and name at the bookshelf,” said Ma Chengxiang, a member of the bus crew. “They can borrow the books for a month.”

There are more than 100 volumes for passengers to choose from, including comics, novels, lifestyle books and magazines.

As for books on the bus, Ma said passengers can either return them to another rack placed at the back door of the bus before getting off, or they can take them away as long as they return them the next time they take the No. 49 bus.

The bus route operates between the stadium in Xuhui District and the junction of Hankou and Jiangxi roads in Huangpu District. It takes roughly 45 minutes for a single trip when traffic is light. During rush hours, the journey often takes up to 70 minutes.

Ma said that in the run-up to the World Book Day that falls on April 23, the books on the bus are an attempt by the crew to “raise the awareness of reading instead of being lost in the content flux of mobile phones,” Ma said.

Some passengers said reading could be a good alternative to looking at their phones. Others though said that reading in a moving vehicle can damage the eyes.

“I got dizzy every time I try to read on a vehicle,” said an older passenger surnamed Liu, who takes the No. 49 bus almost every day to go to People’s Square to exercise.

Ma told Shanghai Daily that for now only one bus is equipped with a book rack.

“More than 11,000 people take this route every day,” said Ma. “If the passengers like the idea, we will equip all 20 No. 49 buses with book racks.”

Bus route rolls out mini library
Ti Gong

The book rack on a No. 49 bus. Among the tomes available are Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "The Little Prince."

Bus route rolls out mini library
Ti Gong

The lending bookshelf at the terminal station of the No. 49 bus.

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