Beijing has scrapped a scheme to rename subway stations after countries competing in the 2014 Fifa World Cup amid fears the new names would confuse passengers, the Beijing MTR Corporation has admitted.
To reflect growing excitement around the tournament which kicks off on Thursday, the transport authorities had renamed subway stations on Line 4 and its extension, the Daxing Line, after each of the countries competing in Brazil.
But the brief name change – which saw the original names retained – proved more trouble than it was worth. Beijingers took to the internet to complain that having two signs indicating the subway stops could cause confusion.
“In order to ensure operational safety and passengers’ convenience, and avoid any unnecessary impact to passengers’ travel, names of participating countries will no longer appear in the station,” the MTR announced on its microblog.
Earlier this week stations had added extra nameplates, on top of the originals, carrying the names of the participating countries.
The two lines, which together begin at Anheqiao North and run south toward Tiangongyuan, have a total of 35 stations – 32 of which had been renamed after countries. The final three had been renamed “Fairplay”, “Sportsmanship”, and “Mr Football”.
New names had included Portugal for Gongyixiqiao, Spain for Xidan, Argentina for Xizhimen, Germany for Haidianhuangzhuang, Brazil for Renmin University, Italy for Jiaomen West, the Netherlands for Xuanwumen, and Algeria for Anheqiao North.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese fans tune into the World Cup every four years. But despite widespread enthusiasm and passion for the sport, the China national team, founded in 1924, has only qualified for the World Cup once, in 2002.