‘Just stand still’: Chinese subway scraps left-right escalator rule over safety fears

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 2:31pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 2:31pm

Guangzhou Metro in southern China has stopped encouraging passengers to stand on the right side of the network’s escalators, saying maintenance reports indicated that leaving the left side clear for people to walk along could increase wear and tear on the machines.

The subway operator had previously encouraged the practice, particularly in rush hour, but engineers warned that it could put extra strain on escalators, The Beijing News reported.

Shanghai begins driverless trains trial run on metro line

Earlier this month, the Guangzhou Metro operator in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, said in an official social media post that it would stop promoting “walk on the left, stand on the right” for safety reasons and instead encourage commuters to stand on both sides.

Maintenance data showed that 95 per cent of the network’s escalators showed more wear on the right, resulting in more malfunctions, and eventually a shorter service life.

A Guangzhou Metro employee also said it was also not safe to walk on the escalator because the steps had higher risers than staircases and passengers could easily trip over.

Subway horror: 4-year-old Chinese boy killed while playing unattended on escalator at Chongqing metro

Subway escalators also moved faster than shopping centre escalators, increasing the risk of an accident in a rush, the report said.

Hong Kong was one of the first cities to promote the keep left rule but the MTR started encouraging commuters to “hold the hand rail and stand still” in 2010.

A number of cities in mainland China have followed suit, with Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing abandoning the practice over the years.