Zhengzhou Public Transit's response to "encouraging employees who have worked for 10 years to start their own businesses" states that the document is genuine and is for soliciting opinions. How do you view this document?

On December 24th, a netizen posted and exposed screenshots, stating that Zhengzhou Public Transportation Group had issued a solicitation for opinions on December 21st, encouraging employees to start their own businesses independently. The screenshot indicated that this solicitation was aimed at “further alleviating the group’s operational and financial pressures,” among other reasons. On the 25th, a reporter from Dingduan News contacted the company’s staff for verification, and the staff confirmed that the draft opinion was indeed issued by the company, but it is not an official document, and the specific implementation date is still uncertain. A search by the reporter revealed that similar occurrences of enterprises issuing documents encouraging employees to start their own businesses have been attempted in places such as Jiangsu and Shaanxi.According to screenshots posted by netizens, Zhengzhou Public Transportation Company (referred to as Zhengzhou Public Transit) issued a notice on December 21st regarding the solicitation of opinions on the “Zhengzhou Public Transportation Group Co., Ltd.’s Measures for Encouraging and Supporting Employees' Personal Entrepreneurship” (referred to as the “Notice”). The document explicitly states that the “Notice” was drafted by the Human Resources Department, in accordance with the work arrangements of the group company, based on relevant national laws and regulations, and bears the company’s official seal. An attachment in the document also includes a “Measures for Encouraging and Supporting Employees' Personal Entrepreneurship (Draft for Solicitation of Opinions)” (referred to as the “Opinion”). Article 1 specifies: “In order to further alleviate the operational and financial pressures of the group company, maximize the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of the majority of employees, and meet the practical needs of employees' independent entrepreneurship, the group company encourages individual employees to engage in independent entrepreneurship, and stimulate the creativity and entrepreneurial vitality of all employees.” The “Opinion” consists of 27 articles, including: 1. This measure applies to employees who have worked for the group company for 10 years or more; 2. During the entrepreneurship period, the group company will maintain their employment relationship; 3. The period of independent entrepreneurship shall not exceed 2 years; 4. During the entrepreneurship period, the original job level will be retained, and seniority can be continuously calculated, with managerial staff no longer retaining their positions; 5. Salary, bonuses, and allowances will be suspended during the entrepreneurship period, and no longer entitled to various benefits; 6. The company will bear the costs of social insurance during the entrepreneurship period, while housing provident fund and enterprise annuity will be terminated or paid by the individual; 7. During the entrepreneurship period, early termination of the agreement can be applied to the original unit, and approval may result in an early return to the job position, and so on.Regarding issues related to the company’s operational and financial pressures mentioned in the document, the company’s staff responded that they are not part of the department responsible for soliciting opinions and are not clear about the specific situation of the company’s operation. They stated, “After soliciting opinions, it has not been determined when the official document will be issued or when it will be implemented.” (Dingduan News) Encouraging employees with more than 10 years of work experience to start their own businesses? Zhengzhou Public Transit: The document is genuine and is for soliciting opinions.

I do not recommend ‘bus drivers’ to start their own businesses; instead, I encourage ‘bus company leaders’ to resign and start their own ventures. Drivers' experience lies in driving, not in running a company; leaders have management experience, vision, and connections.

Considering the alleviation of the company’s operational and financial pressures, the salary of a leader is much higher than that of an ordinary frontline driver. The salary of one leader can support multiple drivers, and the primary responsibility for the company’s operational difficulties lies with the leadership.

Let’s alleviate the compulsion for word alignment for a moment. I strongly discourage people with ‘single skills’ from starting a business. Without understanding the market, trends, technology, marketing, or sales, jumping into entrepreneurship is not truly ‘starting a business’ but rather ‘committing a sin.’

The conditions required for entrepreneurship are very stringent. You need to have a strong desire to ‘make a change in the world at some point,’ and a robust ‘trial and error mindset’ to ensure that after many attempts, you won’t end up in financial ruin, losing your house, car, and family.

You need to wait for a significant opportunity to arise, not forcefully invent a market demand, imagining that the whole world will come to buy it. Do not listen to the ‘survivorship bias’ of successful entrepreneurs who say ‘stick to your dreams, and you will succeed.’ This is a trap, a massive pitfall.

Many successful entrepreneurs have been carried by great luck and timing, with half the credit going to ‘time and circumstance’ and the remaining to their effort and cognition.

Instead of studying how successful entrepreneurs have done it, you should focus on ‘why they chose to do it at that particular time.’ The emphasis is on when to make what decisions. Understanding the timing and choices can define all the significant milestones and turning points in a person’s life.

Study why Shi Yuzhu quickly moved to produce Brain Platinum health supplements in the 90s when the royal jelly and Wahaha were making huge profits. Look at how the early internet tycoons made fortunes by creating Chinese versions of American websites. Research why, with the advent of the smart car era, Huawei’s Yu Chengdong and Xiaomi’s Lei Jun resolutely invested in the new energy intelligent vehicle track. Choosing the right time and making the right decisions is like having one foot in the threshold of success.

But is now a universally good time for entrepreneurship? The overall market demand is shrinking. Although the dollar has stopped hiking interest rates, the global shift from a high-interest environment to a low one will not be completed in a year or two. The household sector doesn’t have much room for leveraging anymore, and consumer sentiment is weak. Except for a few industries that are still doing okay, most are entirely unsuitable for the turmoil of starting a business.

In this period, the most important thing for ordinary people is to keep their jobs, increase income, and cut expenses. They should not throw their hard-earned savings into the sea of entrepreneurship and waste it.

In general, this document from Zhengzhou Bus also disrespects bus drivers with more than ten years of service, even disrespecting the A4 paper it’s written on.

In the past, jobs with guaranteed job security have all started to encourage employees with 10 years of experience to start their own businesses. Saying “layoffs” and “optimization” doesn’t sound very good; instead, it’s more about encouragement and promotion.

However, ordinary employees should not be blamed for this. Employees who have worked for 10 years only know how to drive buses and do not have the ability or mindset for entrepreneurship.

What ordinary employees pursue is stability, and suddenly being deprived of such stability by the company makes it quite challenging for them to venture out on their own.

Comparatively speaking, it is the leaders of the bus company who should be “encouraged.”

They understand management, marketing, communication, have resources, and, most importantly, can adapt to such crises more quickly.

Having succeeded outside, they can still help their former employer. They can also help their subordinates develop better, which is their true ability.

Moreover, the leaders receive higher salaries, and pushing them to start their own businesses would be an easier way to reduce the company’s labor costs, which, in essence, would be a better choice.

I can particularly understand the bus company’s actions; they are using the pretext of personal relationships to avoid paying severance to employees and to prevent labor disputes in the future.

In essence, it is a more tactful way of optimization. A single official document covers a hundred different considerations.

So, the art of language is powerful, powerful enough to make you think this is a good thing. It not only encourages employees to start their own businesses but also provides social insurance during the entrepreneurial period, which is truly a blessing.

But documents like these probably never sought the opinion of the employees and are purely enforced.

From the employees' perspective, unpaid wages, salary reductions, and even layoffs have become the most uncontrollable factors of this era.

After driving a bus for over a decade, suddenly being told to encourage entrepreneurship is quite absurd, isn’t it?

Employees have no choice but to either seek alternative employment or drive for ride-sharing platforms like Didi to make a living.

Reviewing the previous version:

1.0 Some state-owned enterprises are facing development difficulties.

2.0 Maintain employment relationships, encourage unit personnel to venture out.

3.0 We workers should think for the country. If I don’t get laid off, who will?

Confusion abounds.

4.0 Reemployment after layoffs, starting over from scratch.

All the honors of yesterday have become distant memories. Having toiled diligently for half a lifetime, tonight I step once more into the wind and rain. I cannot drift with the tide; it’s for my beloved family. Even in the harshest times, I must stay strong, for those hopeful eyes. If the heart is in the dream, it’s still there, and true love will eventually emerge between heaven and earth. Viewing success and failure with a heroic spirit, it’s just a matter of starting over from scratch.

If you really want to encourage entrepreneurship, offer more financial support. Encouraging people to leave their stable jobs and verbally pushing them to be laid off, how many would willingly comply?

I recall a province previously mentioned encouraging university professors and specialized professionals to venture into entrepreneurship, with the condition that they could retain their positions for up to 3 years. This applied specifically to “professional and technical personnel in institutions such as universities and research institutes.”

This targeted individuals with technical skills and patents. Perhaps they genuinely had opportunities for entrepreneurship.

What’s the point for public transportation companies to join the fray?

Entrepreneurship entails enormous risks, a life-and-death endeavor. If regions everywhere start encouraging employees to start businesses, the most likely outcome is a large number of people falling back into poverty, with only a few achieving success.

Furthermore, technology transfer and market promotion are extremely challenging tasks.

The average lifespan of small and medium-sized enterprises in China is only 3.7 years.

No matter what you do, it’s a tough journey. Entrepreneurship may sound appealing, being your own boss, but without resources, connections, or a background, you’ll be well aware of your struggles.

Most won’t make it.

Moreover, individuals who choose to work in public institutions may have a preference for stability ingrained in their character.

Those who opt for entrepreneurship typically have an inherent adventurous spirit, willing to take risks and put in the effort.

Choosing a steady job and pursuing entrepreneurship are two entirely different life choices. It’s not about being highly specialized or possessing strong technical skills; it’s about whether one is inclined toward the inherently uncertain lifestyle of entrepreneurship.

Starting a business comes with high costs, financial obligations, and the pain of failure. It can lead to overwhelming debt and the loss of one’s previously stable life.

Managing one’s own business involves a multitude of responsibilities, a stark contrast to working a regular job.

From these points, it’s evident that many of the once seemingly secure positions have lost their “ironclad” nature.

In the end, most people either don’t venture into entrepreneurship or, if laid off, seek alternative employment to continue their search for a means of survival.

It’s difficult to explicitly say layoffs, so they use a more tactful way to encourage employees to leave.

Certainly, there are similar practices, not just Zhengzhou Public Transit. More and more state-owned enterprises, faced with intense market competition, are starting to advocate for “encouraging employees to start their own businesses.”

Yes, you read that correctly, state-owned enterprises, the so-called iron rice bowls in the eyes of many, ones that were never expected to lay off employees.

But many state-owned enterprises merely stop at advocacy, issuing announcements, and seeking opinions from relevant units. Actually issuing documents is not that easy, and it’s not a simple matter of sending out a notice.

I resigned from a state-owned enterprise.

In the past couple of years, I heard my former colleagues talking about the same thing, that the group company was planning to initiate a program like this:

*Encourage grassroots employees to start their own businesses, with the company providing initial startup funds. The exact amount wasn’t mentioned, but it’s said to be around several hundred thousand for a team. There’s also something called interest-free loans; *Implement a regional contracting system where individuals need to run their operations independently, taking responsibility for profit and loss. Office space, office equipment, employee recruitment, employee salaries, and other expenses are borne by the individuals; *During the entrepreneurial period, social security contributions continue, but housing provident fund and enterprise annuities are temporarily suspended or determined by the employees themselves (this is the same as Zhengzhou Public Transit’s announcement); *Implement a grid system, allowing current grassroots leaders to lead small teams to contract specific areas, engaging in market competition with agents and contractors in the society. *If employees cannot adapt to this entrepreneurial project, they can voluntarily resign.

There are many corresponding regulations that cannot all be listed.

When this news came out, everyone was in an uproar.

This is not encouraging entrepreneurship at all; it’s essentially a disguised form of layoffs.

The message is clear: if you are dissatisfied with anything, you can now resign.

Who would dare to resign? Who would resign?

This is essentially a dead end.

The neighboring departments say that the company is providing startup funds. Compared to those who need to start their own businesses independently and invest their own funds, the company is at least benevolent, providing some initial capital.

In fact, those who have done business know that startup capital is not the most fundamental reason.

After I resigned, my business was practically zero-cost to start. I only paid a 5,000 RMB deposit at the time, along with some initial expenses. Now, five or six years have passed, and I don’t know how many times the deposit has been returned in profit.

The most fundamental issue is that these state-owned enterprise employees, who have been receiving stable wages for half their lives, are not being given an opportunity for entrepreneurship; their livelihoods are being cut off.

All their social relationships are likely within the small sphere of the company; Even if their performance is poor, they still have a salary to collect; Most of the work skills they possess are mostly applicable only within this company’s work model; Even if you give them money, resources, and tell them everything about how to start the project, how predecessors did it, and what the current strategies are, they still won’t take the risk.

One of my former colleagues said, “I would never go into entrepreneurship, even if you beat me to death. I’d rather stay in the company, even if they lower my monthly salary to 2,000 RMB, I don’t want to leave.”

I can understand them very well. They’ve lived in a stable environment for most of their lives. Even if there’s work pressure, it’s job-related stress, not survival pressure.

Now, asking them to venture into entrepreneurship is not giving them an opportunity; it’s cutting off their livelihoods.

They probably have all their social relationships within the confines of the company; Even if their performance is poor, they still receive a salary; Most of the skills they possess only apply to this company’s work model; Even if you give them money and resources, and tell them everything about how to start the project and what strategies have been used, they still won’t take the risk.

My former company’s plan, I heard, was implemented by the group company in major cities like Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but it simply couldn’t be enforced.

Employees rebelled and it was impossible to implement.

The company can’t openly tell employees to leave through layoffs, and the rules don’t allow for it either. Encouraging self-employment also doesn’t work, so in the end, they can only resort to downsizing and salary reductions.

Even with downsizing and salary reductions, many people are still unwilling to leave.

Because outside employment is a hundred times worse than taking a pay cut.

They don’t have any skills that can be applied to generate income and quickly replace their previous salary and benefits in the state-owned enterprise.

But I believe that since someone has raised this issue, the time may not be ripe now, but someday in the future, state-owned enterprises may actually implement this at the company level.

With these signs emerging, even in the company where I worked, I feel compelled to remind employees in state-owned enterprises: there is no such thing as an everlasting iron rice bowl.

I think either you keep them until retirement or, if it becomes absolutely necessary, you initiate an optimization program, inform them in advance, and provide compensation based on their job level, work experience, and performance, in accordance with their contributions during their employment.

With the money received, they can seek other opportunities.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Encouraging entrepreneurship for two years while retaining labor relations is exactly the same as the thinking of encouraging suspensions and self-employment in the 1990s. Those who develop well within two years can seek new opportunities, and those who don’t can return to their original unit and position. In fact, many public institutions have been implementing this policy for a long time, it’s just that the media hasn’t paid much attention.

In September 2014, then-Premier Li Keqiang first proposed the concept of “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” at the Summer Davos Forum. Since then, he has frequently elaborated on this keyword at events such as the first World Internet Conference, State Council executive meetings, and the 2015 Government Work Report. Many provinces and autonomous regions have also formulated implementation opinions that include the provision to “promote innovation and entrepreneurship among scientific research personnel,” using the suspension of salaries and retention of positions as a method, granting two to three years. Those who have not succeeded in entrepreneurship can continue to return to their original positions.

Under the pressure of economic downturn, encouraging entrepreneurship through suspensions and retaining positions may spread throughout society. Encouragement is not compulsion, and it does not equal a disguised layoff. Adding another option is generally a good thing. Either give yourself two years to try your best, or tighten your belt together with your unit during tough times.

If we talk about personal choices, for someone like me who lacks entrepreneurial skills, social resources, and specialized skills, it’s probably best to coexist and survive with the unit. However, if I were really given the choice, I might also choose to take a break.

But the premise is that there is no survival pressure and no need to stop working. Entrepreneurship involves risks and opportunities, just like looking back from a divine perspective at the 1990s when many people believed it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. With the unit providing a safety net and a chance to experiment, capable individuals can give it a try.

** A few days ago, there were discussions about the inability of Baoding Public Transport Group Company to pay its employees' salaries. Tianjin and Lanzhou public transport groups have faced similar issues before. I made it clear that the reason lies in the fact that most regions have placed public transport group companies under city investment groups. These city investment groups, acting as financing vehicles and financing mainstays, have always been the driving force behind urban real estate investment.
The slowdown in real estate investment has multiple reasons, but nearing the end of rapid urbanization and declining population are certainly major factors. Based on this, the golden age of real estate is unlikely to return.
Given the implicit and explicit debts borne by city investment groups, which cannot be resolved through a real estate revival, they must find a solution. Currently, most cities cannot even pay off their city investment debts, and many cannot even afford the interest on these debts.
With debts they can’t repay and no possibility of increased revenue, they have to cut costs. Public service providers like public transport companies are the first to bear the brunt of these cuts, followed by reduced investments, and then the need to bring the salaries, benefits, and allowances of government-supported personnel back to a reasonable level. This way, fiscal expenditure can be optimized in line with the new development model. The era of high salaries and benefits for civil servants fueled by land finance should come to an end!

In fact, this is a good thing. In the 1990s, despite the enormous pressure of reemployment due to layoffs in state-owned enterprises, there was no craze for civil service jobs in society. Why? Because at that time, the salaries and benefits of civil servants were not significantly higher than the general public. A large number of highly educated talents entered the job market rather than government positions, which was beneficial for industrial development.

The advanced experience of the United States in this regard is worth learning from. The average salary of teachers, police officers, and civil servants in the United States is only about 20% higher than the average wage in society. For example, the highest salary for teachers in New York State is only around 80,000 to 90,000 US dollars per year, while engineers in advanced manufacturing and high-tech industries like the chip industry easily earn more than 150,000 to 200,000 US dollars per year. Graduates from Harvard and Stanford are not aiming for funeral homes and elementary schools.

However, whether this transformation and reform can withstand the test of vested interests is uncertain.**

In fact, it has already been made very clear, and the goal is written on an A4 paper.

Through this approach, there is no need to provide severance pay.

Regarding the issue of severance pay for resignations, the payment of severance pay for the termination of labor contracts is different from the termination of labor contracts due to employees' self-initiated requests or violations of company rules and regulations.

For the termination of labor contracts, if it is a state-owned enterprise or if the employee previously had the status of a state-owned enterprise employee, the employee’s termination of the labor contract should be accompanied by the payment of living allowance in accordance with the “Reply on Issues Related to the Payment of Living Allowances for Labor Contracts After the Abolition of the Temporary Provisions on the Implementation of the Labor Contract System in State-Owned Enterprises” (Labor and Social Security Department Letter [2001] No. 280).

According to this regulation, during the period of self-employment, if an employee violates the self-employment agreement or relevant laws and regulations, or if an employee’s violation of the agreement results in losses to the group company’s interests or reputation, the group company has the right to terminate the self-employment agreement and terminate the labor contract relationship.

At that time, if employees want to raise any issues during their self-employment, it will be too easy.

This scene is too familiar, just a change in form.

The phenomenon of laid-off workers during the transition of China’s economic system is unique in its history, characterized by the fact that “laid-off workers” still maintain a nominal and benefits-related connection with their original enterprises. According to the regulations on the reemployment of enterprise’s laid-off workers in Heilongjiang Province, “laid-off workers” are defined as “workers who have established a labor relationship with the enterprise, have been laid off for more than six months, and have a desire for employment but have not yet found employment.” - Qiqihar Social Science 1998, No. 3, “Ten Attitudes and Reflections of Laid-Off Workers” [1]

Please note Article 7: 7. During the entrepreneurial period, if you request to terminate the agreement prematurely, you can apply to your current unit. After approval, you can return to your work position early, and so on.

“After approval, you can return to your work position early, and so on.” “After approval, you can return to your work position early, and so on.” “After approval, you can return to your work position early, and so on.” “After approval, you can return to your work position early, and so on.”

Isn’t this: a typical disguised layoff! They don’t even want to pay breach of contract penalties!

Just check which high-level managers in loss-making state-owned enterprises are not well-fed and plump?

Looking forward to Zhejiang following up on the policy of unpaid leave…

I recall a period in the 1990s when the winds of reform reached the public transportation system, initiating market-oriented reforms and implementing a contracted bus route system. One vivid image from that time was bus stops filled with buses, refusing to depart, while ticket sellers leaned halfway out of the bus windows, incessantly pounding on the vehicle’s body, producing a “biangbiang” noise in an attempt to attract more pedestrians to board. Passengers already on board complained to the driver and ticket seller, “What’s the rush? Do you really need to pretend to be stuck?”

This was the 1990s, a period that seemed prosperous on the surface but was characterized by the wild growth of urban public transportation. The occurrence of “refusing to depart” was a result of the contracted system, which fully exploited the inducement of human greed. It led drivers and ticket sellers to maximize profit on each trip, packing as many passengers as possible. However, this situation resulted in a very poor passenger experience.

Later on, the public transportation system regained operational control, and with the development of subways, buses gradually faded from the public’s primary view.

To put it plainly, is the urban public transportation system defined as a welfare service for citizens or a profit-oriented institution? If it is a profit-oriented institution, then it returns to the contracted mechanism of the 1990s, which, from the perspective of passengers, results in a poor experience. If it is a nonprofit organization, then it should not focus too much on profit indicators and should rely on government funding to maintain normal operations. However, currently, many places face tight fiscal revenues, which limits the financial allocations that the public transportation system can receive. This situation is not unique to just Zhengzhou.

To be honest, if this is the case for public transportation systems, will larger and more costly rail systems in the future also face the same problems?

It seems like the cold wind of the 1990s has returned this winter, and the trend of unpaid leave and job-seeking is about to reappear.

Back then, everyone was seeking new opportunities, whether you were from a state-owned enterprise, public institution, or civil service; there was a promising future for all.

Nowadays, even public institutions and state-owned enterprises have started encouraging entrepreneurship. Can civil servants be far behind?

Getting into the civil service these days is like enlisting in the army in 1949.

But failing to secure a civil service position might be worse, possibly ending up as part of a patrol team.

Don’t just consider Zhengzhou; in major cities across the country, there are very few with prosperous finances. In certain economic centers, even the salaries of some civil servants are being delayed. How long can other places that rely on fiscal transfers hold out?

Zhengzhou’s public transportation has taken a candid approach in its communication. While everyone knows there’s no money in the budget, they still try to find highfalutin excuses to elevate the situation.

Zhengzhou’s public transportation is straightforward: “If we don’t have money, we ask you to leave! If you stay, we ask you to take a pay cut!"

For the employees, if they voluntarily resign, they definitely won’t receive compensation.

What if they don’t resign?

Rest assured, the company has a hundred ways to let you go, and ultimately, they won’t provide compensation.

Companies that offer substantial compensation are limited to foreign enterprises and some financially sound domestic companies.

For employees within organizations like Zhengzhou’s public transportation, it’s advisable to gather materials and information, just in case they might need it someday.

There is nothing new under the sun; history repeats itself.

Isn’t this just the provision of the old Labor Law for unpaid leave?

Provisions of Unpaid Leave in Labor Law

  1. Unpaid leave refers to the contract signed by the employer and the employee in accordance with the law, in order to allow specific employees to temporarily leave their posts without pay while retaining their employee status, with mutually agreed rights and obligations during the unpaid leave period.
  2. According to the “Notice of the Ministry of Labor and Personnel and the State Economic Commission on the Issue of “Unpaid Leave” for Enterprise Employees,” the unpaid leave period generally does not exceed two years.
  3. During the unpaid leave period, there will be no promotions, and employees will not enjoy various allowances, subsidies, and labor insurance and welfare benefits. In cases of illness or disability that result in a basic loss of work capacity, retirement procedures may be applied. Unpaid leave employees who engage in other income-generating work should, in principle, pay monthly labor insurance premiums to their original employer, which should not be less than 20% of their original wages.

It’s likely that there will be a “Notification Encouraging ‘Specialized and Technical’ Civil Servants to Start Businesses” in the near future.

And looking ahead…

Encouragement for differential civil servants, full-time civil servants, local civil servants, national civil servants, and ministry-level civil servants…

I just saw a report about Sichuan’s medical staff protesting, forming a line at the ticket windows.

Those who are truly suffering are not the poor, but rather the middle class.

When there’s a lack of funds, the best way is to privatize, then raise the prices.

But, of course, it’s the ordinary people who will bear the burden, leading to more dissatisfaction.

It’s like the gas prices in Europe. How much does it cost to heat a home for a year?

Some companies, like thermal power plants, have faced similar dilemmas, and the only solution is market regulation.

Otherwise, they would have gone bankrupt long ago.

Isn’t your public transportation system facing the same situation?

The medical system is also deformed, running at a loss year after year. Some are even in severe deficit.

If you want to spend money, you have to impose a head tax.

Otherwise, you have to sell land forever.

The poor are the most unreasonable. Wealthy people buy land to cover their living costs, and they still aren’t satisfied; they insist on moving toward a head tax.

Once you introduce a head tax, there will certainly be doubts about whether state-owned enterprises are wasting resources.

Do you think that privatizing everything will solve all the problems?

The criticism will only increase, and the capitalists will be blamed.

I’ve been talking about real estate all along. There’s no reason for anyone to short-sell now.

All these problems have emerged now: public services, healthcare, everything is in trouble.

As a poor person, do you think you won’t be affected?

And let’s talk about the wealth gap.

Closing the wealth gap won’t solve any economic cycle problems.

For people with high assets and net worth, their assets are like a pile of steel and concrete; fundamentally, it’s the same as stock valuations.

It changes daily, and if you sell, it shrinks. If you don’t sell, it’s just a string of numbers on your balance sheet.

What kind of gap is this?

At its core, it’s because economic growth has given the poor more say.

In the past, the poor were silent, but now they can speak.

But it still doesn’t change the fact that they’ve failed.

Now, tell me, given the current financial difficulties at the local level, how would you solve them?

Aside from venting, you don’t have anything in your mind.

You used to criticize property prices, and now you’re criticizing services.

Very soon, the actual spending on healthcare will definitely be cut.

The efficient, high-quality public healthcare services you had before will never return.

Do you know why?

Because rich people aren’t buying houses, and no one is paying for your social welfare.

It’s not just in this area where spending will be cut; taxes will definitely increase in the future.

Didn’t someone suggest a property tax before?

Why isn’t it being discussed now?

Didn’t they say young people can’t afford houses? Why aren’t they buying now?

Meanwhile, the luxury real estate market is still thriving.

Is one house really that expensive?

The market is truly a tale of two extremes.

Will falling property prices really make the rich uncomfortable?

So, I want to ask, to my friends struggling to make ends meet, what is economics?

Is a bubble ultimately good or bad?

Does a bubble count as economics?

Those renowned economists among the common people.

Advocates for the poor, advocates for justice.

Some of the things they’ve said, those words of fairness and justice that have made the poor applaud, some of them have already been implemented today.

Shouldn’t you be clapping your hands in approval?

Why do I see you all getting more and more chaotic every day? Aren’t your days supposed to be getting better and better?

There is no doubt that this is the company trying to get rid of its burdens.

However, there are two points worth mentioning about Zhengzhou Public Transportation’s way of “shedding the burden.” First, Zhengzhou Public Transportation can’t afford to keep this burden anymore. Second, the indirect way of “encouraging employees who have worked for 10 years to start their own businesses” is relatively mild and has a touch of humanity.

Of course, the problems Zhengzhou Public Transportation is facing are not unique and are common in many cities today. Practices like Zhengzhou Public Transportation encouraging some employees to “start their own businesses” have been experimented with in other cities.

In the end, this is because the current status of public transportation operations has become a bit awkward, especially in cities with subways.

The total operation of a city is related to its total population and the frequency of people’s travel. In short, the larger the population of a city and the more people travel, the greater the total operation of the city. However, a city’s travel operation will approach a peak, and it cannot continue to grow significantly, at least not in large increments.

Taking Zhengzhou as an example, according to population data released in February 2023, at the end of 2022, Zhengzhou’s permanent population was 12.828 million, an increase of 86,000 from the end of 2021. Zhengzhou’s total permanent population ranks 11th in the country, but the birth rate and natural population growth rate have both decreased from the previous year.

From the perspective of population, it can be seen that Zhengzhou’s population is growing very slowly, and when it comes to travel operations, it is already close to its peak and is entering a very slow upward channel.

However, now the city’s modes of transportation have become diversified, and public transportation is no longer the only choice, not even the first choice; subways are.

And Zhengzhou, as a mega-city with a population of over 10 million, is also vigorously developing its subway system. According to the latest reports, on the morning of December 20th, Zhengzhou Metro Line 12 (Phase 1) opened as scheduled! With this, Zhengzhou’s subway system currently has 10 operating lines with a total mileage of 277.7 kilometers, making it the 13th longest operating subway system in the country.

It must be admitted that Zhengzhou Metro’s expansion not only provides citizens with a more convenient and efficient means of transportation but also further enhances Zhengzhou’s image as a modern city.

At the same time, the continuous growth of private cars, taxis, and even shared bicycles and other modes of travel have also reduced the demand for public transportation.

The combination of these factors is not so friendly to Zhengzhou Public Transportation. Because Zhengzhou’s total operation has limited room for growth, but the subway is growing rapidly, and the rapidly growing subway operation “snatches” away the passenger flow of public transportation. The growth of private cars once again “cuts” into the demand for passenger volume.

The decline in demand for public transportation forces public transportation companies to “reform,” with practices such as: first, canceling some operating routes; second, adjusting some operating routes, either shortening or merging them; third, reducing the frequency of departures; fourth, replacing large buses with smaller ones on some routes.

Regardless of the specific approach, when it comes to the actual operation of public transportation companies, it is bound to be about “reducing costs and increasing efficiency.” “Reducing costs” can only mean reducing the number of buses and operational personnel.

After going around in such a big circle, I’ve finally explained why Zhengzhou Public Transportation wants to “encourage employees who have worked for 10 years to start their own businesses.”

You might ask, can’t Zhengzhou Public Transportation do without doing this? Well, it’s possible, but the result would be a continued decline in company performance, with the entire workforce seeing a reduction in wages or even struggling to guarantee their salaries…

So, Zhengzhou Public Transportation offers certain favorable policies to some employees, allowing those with some ability and connections to leave the company earlier. In fact, for the company and the employees, this may not be a bad thing after all.

Are you playing on a nostalgia server these years?

Isn’t it just about downsizing? No need to make it sound so noble. Turns out it’s to avoid providing compensation!

It’s only been a few days, and Zhengzhou is trending again. This must be quite challenging for Shanghai. Zhengzhou’s public transportation is encouraging employees with ten years of service to leave their jobs and start their own businesses. Are they planning to pioneer “driverless” buses? It seems that Zhengzhou’s public buses are about to take the lead nationwide. This is like overtaking on a curve!

See, when it comes to layoffs, it’s always the ones doing the actual work who get laid off. The leaders and their connections are always secure in their jobs.

In every level of the department, the most useless are the middle managers. They neither make decisions nor work on the front lines. They just add another layer of bureaucracy and exploit those below them. The rest are just here to show off their authority.

Just admit that local finances are tight and stop with the evasions. Local finances are strained, and they can’t continue subsidizing public transit companies, which leads to the inability of these companies to sustain so many employees, hence this desperate measure. This is similar to the late 1980s when state-owned enterprise employees were encouraged to take unpaid leaves to explore other opportunities.

Public transit companies (or groups) generally operate at a loss due to their public service nature. Their ticket prices are typically low, and they rely on subsidies from the central or local government to operate.

In times of economic prosperity (such as the rapid development of the real estate market), local finances are ample, and subsidizing public transit companies isn’t a problem. However, in the past couple of years, the real estate market has been declining, leading to a sharp drop in land sale revenues for local governments. This has resulted in reduced fiscal revenues, putting local governments in a financial bind. They can no longer afford to subsidize public transit companies, leading these companies to resort to encouraging employees to start their own businesses.

Apart from government subsidies, public transit companies face losses for several reasons:

  1. As mentioned earlier, public transit companies provide a public service and charge relatively low ticket prices. Their revenue is insufficient to cover operational costs.

  2. These companies have a significant number of public service positions, which are costly to maintain. For instance, bus drivers, some places even have a ticket seller on every bus, and various management positions all contribute to substantial costs. Additionally, there are expenses related to vehicle maintenance, route maintenance, fuel costs, and more.

  3. Increased competition. Some cities have introduced subways, which run on time, are faster, and rarely face traffic congestion during rush hours, making them a more convenient option for passengers. This has reduced the demand for and reliance on public buses. The emergence of flexible new transportation options such as shared bicycles, electric scooters, and ride-sharing services, coupled with the widespread adoption of private cars, has further diminished the demand for public buses, exacerbating their already sluggish operations.

  4. Some remote routes may have unreasonable planning, either with infrequent schedules, causing long wait times for passengers, or extremely low passenger volumes, resulting in severe financial losses for the transit line.

In 2022, due to insufficient funds, many places saw the suspension of some public transit routes. Partial route suspensions occurred in several areas, including Dancheng County in Henan, Leiyang in Hunan, Zhangjiakou in Hebei, Taihu County in Anhui, Mohe City in Heilongjiang, Baoding in Hebei, and Jianchang County in Liaoning. For example, in Baoding, Hebei, the number of public transit routes was reduced from 72 to 46, a reduction of more than one-third.

On September 23, 2023, Dongkou County Public Bus Company in Shaoyang City, Hunan, announced the suspension of all routes. They mentioned that since 2019, the subsidies for 127 buses from the central government have been reduced from over 10 million yuan to just over 1 million yuan after shifting from central to local government subsidies. Over the past three years, the local government owed the bus company over 10 million yuan in worker salaries and pensions. Therefore, the company had no choice but to suspend all public transit routes from September 30, 2023. This has caused inconvenience to the public and students, and we ask for your understanding.

These cases of route suspensions illustrate the financial difficulties faced by local governments, making it challenging to continue supporting the normal operations of public transit companies. With insufficient local fiscal subsidies, public transit companies may face further deterioration in their operations and may need to make the tough choice of either restructuring and finding new ways to generate profits or, like Shaoyang, suspending all public transit routes.