Mount Qomolangma National Nature Reserve in the Tibet autonomous region has started a trial run of clean energy buses to better balance tourism development and environmental protection, local authorities said.
Upon arrival at the station, whether by tour bus or private car, tourists will be required to transfer to electric-powered buses, according to Dingri county government, which oversees the base camp for Mount Qomolangma, known as Mount Everest in the West.
So far, 13 buses equipped with oxygen supply facilities have been put into operation. The bus station is 79 kilometers inside the north gate of the reserve and about 20 km from the base camp.
The service is scheduled to depart every 10 minutes, with the first bus leaving the base camp at around 7 am and the last returning at around 9 pm to allow tourists to take pictures of the sunrise and sunset.
"The purpose of doing this is to control pollution from gasoline-powered vehicles and make it easier to collect trash left by tourists," said Wang Shen, county chief of Dingri.
"Bus drivers will also be very careful so as not to disturb the wild animals that often appear on the way from the station to the base camp," Wang said.
Last year, a total of 120,000 visits were made to the reserve. The base camp was moved to near the Rongpo Monastery from the core zone in December last year to better conserve the environment of the world's highest mountain.