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Metro operator ordered to pay man who got his foot trapped

A METRO passenger has been awarded 120,000 yuan (US$17,570) compensation after his left leg became trapped in the gap between a subway train and a platform in 2007.

Xuhui District People's Court said over the weekend that it ordered Shanghai Metro Operation Co Ltd to pay the money, including 8,000 yuan for mental anguish.

Joints in his instep were dislocated and doctors said the man, surnamed Xu, might have difficulty walking in future.

On July 27, 2007, Xu took Metro Line 4 to Shanghai Stadium Station. When he stepped off the train, his left foot fell into the gap between the train and the platform.

"I stepped on the stainless steel board on the edge of the platform and slipped into the gap," Xu told the court. "I lost my balance immediately and fell."

Large shoe size

When he was freed he was sent to a hospital where doctor said five joints on his instep were dislocated and he would suffer a slight disability.

Xu told the court he was puzzled how his foot could fall into the gap as he had a large shoe size.

He said the Metro station design was unsafe and the Metro operator didn't guarantee the security of passengers.

Shanghai Metro Operation Co Ltd denied negligence and said Metro Line 4 had passed national-level safety tests before opening to the public.

It said the gap was unavoidable. National standards require a minimum of 10 centimeters between the train and the platform because trains will shake when passing at high speeds.

Where the platform is curved, the gap needs to be wider. The Shanghai Stadium subway station has a curved platform.

The company argued that Xu should bear responsibility for the accident as he failed to heed safety reminders. There are warning signs on each train door, the subway operator said.

The court said the company had failed to eliminate all hidden dangers because the curved platform design would cause passengers to slip into the gap more easily.

Seven passengers stumbled and sustained injuries because of gaps on Line 6 and Line 8 in the first week after those two lines were opened at the end of 2007.

Metro operators said there were gaps of about 10 centimeters between the trains and platforms while the train floor was also five to 10 centimeters higher than the platform on Line 6 and Line 8.

To prevent further accidents, Metro operators installed rubber pads along the screen doors to reduce the vertical gap since January, 2008.

Installation had been completed by last February.

In 2006, the Metro network operator was ordered to compensate a passenger 10,858 yuan after a bag, with a laptop inside, was caught between a train and its screen door.


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