Bus Company Ad Attacks Chinese Students

Henrietta Strickland
December 5, 2017

A bus company was on the defensive on Sunday after they advertised their bus trips to the University of IL as being superior because "you won't feel like you're in China when you're on our buses".

"Passengers like you. You won't feel like you're in China when you're on our buses".

"Equating the benefits of "allowing fuzzy slippers" and "refundable tickets" with the ability to board a bus with "passengers that look like you" (which apparently just means "not-Asian") is frankly dehumanizing and disgusting to our Asian classmates and friends", the Asian Pacific American Coalition said on Facebook.

"When we wrote a recent promotional email, we mentioned that Suburban Express riders would not encounter Chinese exchange students on our buses", the statement said.

It went on to blame the University of IL for attending to global students instead of the education of IL locals. An additional 15 per cent of the non-international students are Asian, while 43 per cent are white.

The APAC also posted an image of an initial apology it says came from Suburban Express over the weekend, where the company derides the U. of I.'s financial mismanagement and claims the university has been forced to enroll "large numbers of worldwide students" who pay higher tuition to help make up that gap.

The apology letter also says "a high percentage of non-native English speakers places a variety of burdens on domestic students".

While the company can and does operate stops on campus, U. of I. spokeswoman Robin Kaler added the company frequently violates school policy not to post advertisements in classrooms and on university property.

"Welcome to December" the ad reads, encouraging students to get their tickets early so they can "enjoy the suburban express experience".

"We can not prevent a private company from operating in our community", part of the statement from the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs read. "But we can, loudly and unambiguously, say that the opinions expressed by Suburban Express are offensive, bigoted, insulting and in direct opposition to the values of this university".

The editorial closed by encouraging students to "seek other forms of transportation rather than support a vile company such as Suburban Express".

The company received backlash in 2013 after it filed more than 120 lawsuits against its own customers for terms of service violations. In addition to highlighting the buses' cleanliness and the quality of drivers, the ad also took what appeared to be a swipe at Chinese students. Worldwide students never have presented "a variety of burdens' to our community, unlike Suburban Express".

This is not the first instance in which Suburban Express has been under fire for questionable behavior.

In 2014, Suburban Express owner Dennis Toeppen was charged with harassing customers, though the charges were later dropped.

Later Sunday, Toeppen sent a letter to the Daily Illini student paper and the three U. of I. officials who condemned the company in the statement.

However, upon clicking the link, the website redirects to a 404 Not Found page.

Suburban Express welcomes students of all nationalities on our buses. "That's because they all ride our competitor now".

"We made a remark based on the fact that our competitor mostly handles Chinese global students", the message began.

Suburban Express recently made comments deemed racist towards Asians on their busses.

. A short time later (right), only one comment is visible on the post.

Suburban Express believed that it would be doing a disservice to the world if it did not hold the budding new adults who cheated it responsible for their actions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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