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Food, drink, bikes may be banned from the Metro

THE local government is considering banning all food, drinks and bicycles, including folding bikes, from the Metro.

Authorities are calling for locals to discuss the new safety law at a hearing next month.

The draft of the law says people who take bikes, food and drink on a Metro, or use skateboards or roller skates in a station, will be fined up to 500 yuan (US$73).

Metro operator officials said the safety rule would impose stricter penalties on dangerous practices such as running onto trains while doors are closing, holding doors open, jumping onto the tracks and entering tunnels.

"A ban on food and drink would be hard to enforce," said Yin Wei, an official from Shanghai Shentong Metro Co Ltd, the Metro operator. "Many office workers and students have their breakfast on the Metro. However, beverages can be problematic sometimes because they can spill on the train or destroy facilities if they are poured into turnstile gates or other machines."

The plan has sparked debate online. "A journey can takes over an hour," a Netizen said on the Website Shanghai Metrofans Club. "Passengers can feel hungry if it's dinner time. Banning food can be risky for people with diabetes or other diseases."

Metro officials usually required people with folding bikes to put them into a bag or case to avoid hurting other passengers or damaging their clothes.

"We warn riders if they don't fold their bikes or ride them inside the station," said Yin from Shentong. "We can't fine them under the current rules. But it is really dangerous for the rider and other passengers, who could fall on to the tracks if a cyclist accidentally runs into them."

But cyclists who use the Metro as part of their commute are frustrated by the draft law.

"The authorities could just ban bikes during rush hours or designate special carriages with bike racks," Alin said on the Website Ditiezu.

The hearing will also discuss in-station advertising, measures to prevent overcrowding and dangers to passengers.

People who are interested in participating in the hearing can send a request to the Shanghai Legislative Affairs Office at 200 People Avenue or e-mail before June 20.


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