Walking on escalators now prohibited in Nagoya, Japan

There's also a similar rule in Saitama.

Brenda Khoo | October 02, 2023, 03:47 PM



Walking on escalators is now prohibited in Nagoya, Japan.

On Oct. 1, a new law was enacted in Nagoya that now requires people to stand still while riding escalators, as reported by Japan Today.

Law to promote safety and change mindsets

Previously, commuters in Nagoya followed an 'unspoken rule' to stand still on the left side of the escalator to allow others who are in a hurry to walk through quickly on the empty right lane.

Commuters can now stand still on the left or right side of escalators, so long as they are not walking or running up or down the escalators.

However, no penalties will be meted out if commuters do not comply with the new law.

It was passed to "change long-standing customs and attitudes", as well as to to prevent commuters from falling and creating other accidents when riding on escalators in the city.

Why and how this law was passed

Between 2018 and 2019, the Japan Elevator Association reported 805 accidents caused by people riding on escalators wrongly, Japan Today reported.

These include cases such as commuters losing their balance while running on escalators, and knocking over other commuters in the process.

In some cases, some even ran up or down the escalators in the wrong direction and fell down.

Japan Today also reported that the government of Nagoya City has also been running TV commercials and putting up posters and signs in Japanese and English at major train stations for extra reminders.

Also, staff in the city will ride on the right side of escalators with a large hand sign on their back to stop commuters from walking while riding on escalators.

Will the new law be effective?

With no penalties in case of violations, you may wonder if the new law will be effective.

Nagoya is not the first city in Japan to adopt this move. In October 2021, Saitama was the first to do so.

Yet, the law appears to be limited in its effectiveness.

Image of Railway Museum in Saitama by Wikimedia Commons.

The law showed initial success according to a study on an escalator to change from the Tobu line to the JR lines at Omiya station. It was conducted in the mornings from 7:30 am to 8:30 am, as reported by The Asahi Shimbun

After the law came into force, the percentage of people walking on an escalator decreased from 62 per cent to 38.1 per cent within three months.

However, almost a year later on Sep. 30, 2022, the percentage of people walking on the escalator has gone back up to the pre-law level at 61.1 per cent.

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Top image from Yuya Tamai/Flickr.

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