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September 9, 2013

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Escalator safety comes first

Editor’s note:

This “Ask Shanghai Daily” column, which runs every Monday, serves as a platform for expatriates to ask questions about things that puzzle them during their stay in the city. If you have any questions about life in the city, feel free to e-mail them to Or you can ask us directly through WeChat.

Q: Why don’t escalator riders in Shanghai follow the “walk left, stand right” code?

A: As we all know, “walk left, stand right” is a good rule to adhere to anywhere in the world. Metro passengers have been urged to follow it for years in Shanghai.

But since the end of last year, the city stopped promoting the “walk left, stand right” rule, instead laying the emphasis on holding the handrail when riding an escalator.

The local Metro operator began advocating the practice in November 2006 with posted signs and public announcements at Metro stations. But some subway users said it can be dangerous when fellow passengers walk quickly or run on an escalator. In fact, the city’s bureau of quality and technical supervision reaffirmed the safety concerns. The quality watchdog said the “walk left, stand right” practice was harmful for the balance of the escalators’ parts. The escalators may suddenly break down or suffer damage if people constantly walk or run on them. Furthermore, the steps weren’t made for walking or running, increasing the chance someone might trip and fall.

The operator has replaced the signs advising riders to “stand on the right, walk on the left” with ones that remind them to hold on to the handrail, which is safer.

If you are truly in a hurry it would be safer to use the stairs instead of walking or running on the escalators.



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