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September 18, 2013

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Food, drinks to be banned on city’s subway

SHANGHAI lawmakers are pushing for a plan that bans eating and drinking, among others, on the city’s Metro network.

Smoking, urinating and begging are  also to be banned with violators facing a  maximum of 500 yuan (US$81.67) fine, according to a new Metro management regulation that is being drafted.

Of the above, eating and drinking bans are likely to be controversial. The draft plan also includes fines for stopping trains, jumping onto the tracks and getting on or off the trains by force.

The Metro operators will first warn  and then fine violators between 50 yuan to 500 yuan.

“It is necessary to ban eating and drinking on trains to ensure the smooth operation, though some lawmakers and citizens think it should not be included in the law,” said Ding Wei, deputy director with the legislative affairs committee with the city’s legislative body. But Ding said 80 percent of the locals surveyed by the legislative body had given their support in favor of the ban.

The body will review the draft and solicit public opinions before deciding on the final outcome by the end of the year.

The city’s Metro operator, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, has long been asking subway riders to refrain from eating and drinking on the trains, but they have had very little success.

Proposal prompts discussion

The proposal generated a lot of discussion online yesterday, with netizens asking if bottled water would also be banned under the new law. Others said the current plan offers little in terms of penalties and fines for violators.

“I think it’s funny, and even contradictory,” said Jim Wang, a regular on the city’s Metro. “If the operator wants to ban food and drink on the trains, why do they have vending machines on the platforms?”

Zhou Beihua, a member of the city’s top political advisory body, had said earlier that other big cities around the world like New York and Singapore, do not allow eating on the transit systems.

In a poll on the popular online forum,, Metro commuters indicated they would mostly prefer  changes to be made on the way security checks are carried out at the stations, followed by stiffer punishment for fare evaders, and then restrictions on food.

Security checks at the 200-plus Metro station are not popular with commuters complaining it only leads to delays.

But the operator and police say the checks are the only way to ensure safety of passengers and avoid dangerous goods from getting into the stations and  trains.

“The Metro operator has the power to carry out security checks on passengers who should cooperate with them,” the new draft says.

The operator can forbid those carrying dangerous materials like oil paint and other inflammable materials into the stations, while the police can detain those who enter the stations by force, according to the draft.

“The legislative body regards the security check as an important measure to ensure the operational safety of the subway system,” Ding said.

Urinating and defecating on trains and platforms will mean a fine of 500 yuan as per the new draft law.

Suggested bans on Metro

Intercepting a train

Getting on to the tracks, tunnels or other restricted areas

Jumping over barriers, handrails and turnstile

Getting on or off the trains by force

Smoking, spitting, urinating and defecating, spitting chewing gum, littering and eating or drinking in the trains

Scribbling, painting or pasting posters

Setting up stalls, entertaining people for money, distributing brochures/fliers or other sales activities

Begging, lying down or collecting rubbish

Live poultry, cats, dogs (except guide dog) or other pets

Portable bicycles (including folded bicycles)

Skateboards and skates

Other banned items or activities



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