Japanese prefecture passes ordinance forbidding walking up and down escalators

Up and down.

Nyi Nyi Thet | April 02, 2021, 01:07 PM

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Saitama, Japan, has passed a new ordinance on March 26.

Under the ordinance, which will start on October 1, commuters will be required to stand still and not walk up or down escalators.

Asahi Shimbun reported that Shinichi Nayashiki, chief of policy affairs of the Liberal Democratic Party assembly group, had emphasised the importance of this ordinance.

Shinichi had called for a "strong message" to the public, calling on them to "alter practices that have become so pervasive as to be perceived as custom".

Getting commuters to stand still on escalators is not a new preoccupation for regulators.

According to a Kyodo News article back in 2019, they noted that:

"Companies have held summer campaigns nearly every year, urging passengers to stand still and hold onto the handrail -- adding for the first time this year a direct request not to walk."

The same article also acknowledged that some might find the request to stand still a nuisance in their daily rush, but that railway operators might insist on it for safety reasons.

Roughly 775 escalator injuries occur every year in Japan.

Citing the Japan Elevator Association, Asahi Shimbun noted that there were 805 cases between January 2018 and December 2019.

"The Tokyo-based association called on users to remain still and hold the handrail when using an escalator, saying the equipment is not designed to anticipate sudden movements."

According to SoraNews, the recent ordinance also requires signages asking riders to refrain from walking or running on escalators to be placed near the machines.

While some assembly members called the move to regulate escalator usage premature, both Asahi Shimbun and SoraNews reported that the ordinance would probably not carry any penalty if breached.

Image from Pakutaso