China bus company pays drivers in small change

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, AFP/Getty Images
Image caption,
Most of the coins were worth only 1 yuan ($0.15; 12p)

A bus company in eastern China has paid its drivers using small change in order to avoid taking a huge stockpile of coins to the bank.

About 200 members of staff at the Baoying Automobile Transport Company were given bags containing mainly 1-yuan coins, popular news site Jiangsu Net reports. The company, which operates in Jiangsu Province, saw a big rise in passenger numbers over the Chinese New Year holiday in January. Many of them preferred to pay in cash instead of using travel cards, union head Gu Fengyun tells the site.

That left managers pondering how to deal with all the cash. Rather than lug it all to the bank to be deposited, they decided to offload coins worth about 200,000 yuan ($30,000; £23,000) onto their employees as wages. The company says the alternative - moving, counting and processing the small change - would have required "a lot of manpower and equipment" both from its own staff and those at the bank.

But the decision has left some drivers unhappy. "Yes it's money, but it's inconvenient to go shopping while carrying round a bag of heavy coins," one driver says. Another explains that staff received differing amounts in small change - some got 300 yuan, others had to deal with coins worth 1,000 yuan.

They may not have to worry, though, as after the story made headlines the local branch of the People's Bank of China got in touch with the bus company to offer a solution. An official tells Yangzhou News that many companies don't realise that commercial banks in the region have coin-counting machines, and they would be happy to exchange the weighty wages for lighter banknotes.

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