Photo: Pakutaso
national

Saitama begins plans to regulate how to use escalators; prohibit walking up and down

65 Comments
By SoraNews24

When they were invented around the turn of the 20th century, escalators made a huge splash and quickly replaced catapults as the best way for humanity to move between floors diagonally. And although it was never explicitly instructed, over time certain cultures seem to have evolved an etiquette in which people stand on one side while others walk on the other.

Interestingly enough, in Japan there is no consensus on which side is for which. Tokyoites stand to the left while Osakans lean right – which makes it really easy to spot out-of-towners – and now Saitama Prefecture is preparing to take the bold stance of officially saying both sides should be used for standing only.

The Liberal Democratic Party of the Saitama Prefectural Assembly is preparing a draft ordinance on promoting the safe use of escalators in the prefecture. The key feature of this ordinance is expected to mandate that all escalator riders remain in a stopped state to help prevent falls and other accidents.

Considering you’re almost guaranteed to see people hurrying up and down escalators any time you encounter one in Japan, you’d probably expect such news to be met with outrage. However, many comments online have come out strongly in favor of such an ordinance.

“I wholeheartedly agree. Since we were able to make a custom of standing to one side, I want this to become a custom of no walking. Can’t more people pass through that way?”

“Saitama! Sometimes you do a good thing, Saitama! I’m impressed! I totally want this to happen, and then I want it to spread all over Japan! Come on, spread!”

“I’m really grateful for this. My eyesight is bad and I always cling to the railing for fear of people suddenly rushing by.”

“I agree with this because it’s too dangerous to walk on escalators.”

“Why do they make escalators big enough for two people anyway?”

“A while back I fell on an escalator when someone ran into me, so I’m all for it.”

“I agree that we shouldn’t walk on escalators. Running is way faster.”

“We can’t just trust people to do the right thing here. There’s only two options: Make people stop walking by enforcing laws, or stop them by making escalators narrower.”

It’s true that numerous campaigns asking people to not walk on escalators have been run in the past with few tangible results. However, the cost of narrowing every escalator would naturally be staggering, and counterproductive since that extra space is often needed for people with bags, children, physical disabilities, friends, snowboards, or any number of other things that also happen to make walking on the other side more hazardous.

So, it looks like Saitama chose the legal route. At this stage details are scant but it appears that it would be merely an unbinding ordinance like Kagawa’s video game restrictions last year. Still, such ordinances have been effective in the past, such as Tokyo’s anti-smoking rules that were said to have significantly reduced public smoking since they went into effect, despite having no serious legal consequences for violating them.

It will likely be pushed hard too, because rather than a mere concern for people’s welfare, Saitama Prefectural Assembly said the aim is to reduce the number of costly lawsuits to government and business by an increasing number of people who fall on public and private property. And as we all know, governments can suddenly become amazingly effective when their money is on the line.

Sources: Model Press, Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo taking a stand on walking up and down escalators

-- Japanese politicians want to make walking while looking at your smartphone illegal

-- Japanese escalator cleaning crew discovers an absurd amount of change

© RikiWeb

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

65 Comments
Login to comment

The nanny state at work. Japan has some of the slowest escalators I've ever experienced, so I'll still be walking up and down them.

40 ( +45 / -5 )

I hear they also want to prohibit people walking up and down stairs also. They are even more dangerous when wet.

29 ( +32 / -3 )

The Liberal Democratic Party of the Saitama Prefectural Assembly is preparing a draft ordinance on promoting the safe use of escalators in the prefecture. 

Saitama must be a perfect place to live, if this is the most urgent issue the city Assembly has to address.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

Saitama Prefectural Assembly said the aim is to reduce the number of costly lawsuits to government and business by an increasing number of people who fall on public and private property. And as we all know, governments can suddenly become amazingly effective when their money is on the line.

So it's got nothing to do with public safety, just protecting business and local government from lawsuits. Very Saitama.

24 ( +26 / -2 )

The pic shows Kansai style...but hopefully, we can all argue about it ferociously

kurisupisu

You mean, ‘keep right’ not left!

Look at the picture...

19 ( +20 / -1 )

Kansai and style. Now there are 2 words you don't often see in the one sentence

17 ( +24 / -7 )

Now it's not enough that you have to travel on fully packed trains, you will also be forced to be late wherever you go.

And as someone mentioned, there is really no difference between walking up the stairs and walking up the escalator in terms of danger. So why don't they just ban overall any type of walking for that matter.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

More stupid government overreach. Last time I heard of a Ministry of Walk was in a Monty Python sketch. Sad to see this nanny state escalation.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

“I agree that we shouldn’t walk on escalators. Running is way faster.”

My thoughts exactly.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

If they really want to tackle a vexing issue, maybe they should start fining obachans who stop dead when they get off the escalator before deciding which way to go, thereby blocking everyone else from moving forward.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Yes, great idea - let's take the time to create ordinances that aren't binding for things that aren't a problem.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

If they are going to do this, at least install pull down stools for the looooong ride up. Oh wait, that's Tokyo where it takes about 15 minutes to emerge from the coal mines.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Tokyo-m: "1) It's dangerous. I have mobility issues and need to take up a bit more space on an escalator because of it. I can't tell you the number of times I've been bashed into by selfish people pushing to get past."

You callously tell others "no one is forcing you to be late" when they mention the very relevant fact that sometimes you need to move quickly to catch a train, but then you claim OTHERS are selfish for bumping into you as you take up more space. Well, since you say quite simply "No one is forcing you to be late," I say no one is forcing YOU to take the escalator -- take an elevator instead. Any platform with an escalator also has an elevator, and after telling people that no one is forcing them to be late, I hope you're not going to suggest that an elevator is in an inconvenient place and would force you to take more time.

Sorry, but I'll keep walking up and down, thank you. Japan is doing its utmost to avoid making an legislature to force places to close during a life-threatening pandemic, they certainly can't force people to abide by their suggestions on this. They're not going to make pre-existing escalators narrower because the costs would be too high. I generally take the stairs, but in a lot of cases the escalators come BEFORE the stairs and you have heaps of lazy people who block the staircase as they line up to ride the escalators. Or how about this? eliminate all escalators save one for all stations. Problem solved.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Not rocket science...keep left while driving, walking, riding a bicycle and on the escalator.

8 ( +18 / -10 )

I do walk up and down escalators, but I am always aware that there are those on them who may be startled off-balance by my sudden appearance, so I slow down and keep well to the other side when passing people. When in doubt, I stop walking. I am aware that I am breaking a rule. Just because being passed doesn't bother me, doesn't mean I should disregard those who are affected.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

The Liberal Democratic Party of the Saitama Prefectural Assembly is preparing a draft ordinance on promoting the safe use of escalators. The key feature is expected to mandate that all escalator riders remain in a stopped state.. Ah , the good ole LDP big brother politicians at work...gotta keep the bureaucrats busy inventing new rules.

Wow! Hey guys which problem do you think is worse???? Lol, hey, our puppet manager is on, which name shall we post uder today and point out totally unrelated stuff under the "its worse in some other country " category ?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Fact is that if somebody bumps into somebody else ANYWHERE then they should be responsible for any injuries they cause. Walking on an escalator should not have any special considerations. If you can't walk past people without bumping into them, you are either too clumsy, too fat, unable to correctly gauge width, or the elevator is too narrow.

I support walking on elevators, and support people being upset with others who cannot manage to walk without pushing others around.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

2) Only permit passing if it is a 1000mm wide with a line painted down the centre.

They'll probably start handing out tape measures at the station as part of an "awareness campaign"

7 ( +7 / -0 )

One more reason, as if it were needed, never to visit Saitama.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

I like the unwritten etiquette escalator rules in Japan where people stand either on right or left to allow people to walk up/down if they are in a hurray. Makes perfect sense. It just is funny how Kansai escalator etiquette rules have people stand on the right-side while everywhere else in Japan is left-side.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

That’s a policy for elderlies and disabled persons. When the first one will be fined, it will make the national headline.

I do not think people will respect it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If they really want to tackle a vexing issue, maybe they should start fining obachans who stop dead when they get off the escalator before deciding which way to go, thereby blocking everyone else from moving forward.

Now THAT is dangerous! I'd be for doing some serious King Leonidas kicks in that situation!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

We need an escalator Funashi Mascot. That will change my habits for sure!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Thanks, Saitama. I'm a grown adult who knows how to use an escalator.

If other "grown adults" don't know how to properly use escalators, and there are sure a lot of them.

I think that is society that failed.

The problem is there should really be 4 escalators. 1 going up for people trying to get somewhere and another for people just making escalators a fun time ride. Same goes for going down.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Walking burns more calories. It is healthy.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Look at the picture...

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Faster escalators may solve this [hard pressing] matter that Saitama seems to have major issues with. I hope that Saitama can solve this fast. I wonder what the next problem might be. Makes me shudder to think of it. Maybe the problem of way too many leafs on the ground. Or, people walking on the green grass in the public gardens. Or not throwing away trash exactly perfectly right. Or.... The list goes on in Saitama. ; ^ 0

5 ( +8 / -3 )

kurisupisu

Look at the picture...

Yes, that is weird. In Tokyo, people stand on the left. What is up with Saitama?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

2) It slows everyone down. More passengers get through quicker when everyone stands. People walking up the escalator slow things down for everyone.

I cannot get up them quicker if it's standing only and what everyone else is doing with their time is not my business or my concern. I will continue to walk up them if nearby stairs aren't available.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I like the escalator etiquette too but when im in a hurry i usually use the stairs.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Its getting a bit over the top when they have to draft laws on where to stand/what to do on an escalator.

Escalators generally come in 600, 800 and 1000mm step widths. Globally 1000mm is the most common size. In Japan 600 and 800mm are far more common.

Really it boils down to this.

1) Only install single width escalators.

or

2) Only permit passing if it is a 1000mm wide with a line painted down the centre.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Well, they don't call Saitama the New Jersey of Japan for nothing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I think I will stay in Ginza. Better escalators.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

CrashTestDummy

I like the unwritten etiquette escalator rules in Japan where people stand either on right or left to allow people to walk up/down if they are in a hurray. Makes perfect sense.

Yes, exactly. I see one of the main purposes of an escalator is to enable people to move quickly from one place to another, and the reason why people should stand on either the left or the right side, is to enable the ones in a hurry to walk (or even run) the escalator up or down. It's their own responsibility, if they stumble!

Escalators and the underground tunnels/platforms are occasionally extremely long in Tokyo, and it wastes way too much time, if people would be forced to stand on the escalators.

One idea, where there are several escalators going up/down, is to reserve e.g. one of them as a fast lane, for walking/running, and the rest of them for standing only.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This story is similar to the question about men's shirts and jackets in the world. Why is it left over right? It is so the man can draw the sword carried on the left with the right hand, and unbutton the French blouse (jacket) with the left hand to give more freedom of movement. When the reader goes to city hall in Japan, does he/she naturally move to the left or the right to enter the door? Where are the Enter and Exit signs? Most likely, Enter is on the left as the viewer approaches the doors. An esteemed expert who resides now in CA, USA, says the real reason for left or right is that Tokyoites were the military people so they stayed to left to protect their swords and let people pass on the their right. Osakans were merchants and carried the money bag on the right, so they moved to the right to protect it. They could afford to hire an escort. Thanks to Napoleon and his ego, most cultures drive on right now. Good luck to the Japanese government trying to get everyone, Japanese and foreigners, to stand on the same side.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When are the rules to have accessible and safe staircases and enough elevator to accommodate all the people needing it being passed ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One more reason, as if it were needed, never to visit Saitama.

They don't call it "saitei yama" for nothing!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

so I'll still be walking up and down them.

Would be hard to do if there are people not walking on the escalators in front of you

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Im glad this story was reported. Its so important. Im going to make a note of this and pass it on to my friends and lovers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

tokyo m

1) It's dangerous. I have mobility issues and need to take up a bit more space on an escalator

That is an etiquette issue. If you really block the entire width because of a physical handicap, then so be it. People will be reasonable and understand that.

2) It slows everyone down. More passengers get through quicker when everyone stands. People walking up the escalator slow things down for everyone.

I know that is the theory, but it is based on the assumption that all spaces on the moving escalator would be filled up all the time, which is of course not the case.

In the event, some people are more in a hurry than others, so asking everybody to stand is just as unreasonable as asking everybody to walk.

3) It damages the escalators.

In what universe? Do you have any reference for that? I cant imagine escalators are that fragile.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Move on the left, like vehicles on the road, stand on the right. Not difficult. What next, banning walking on travelators?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would like them to enforce social distancing before this. Too many people come right behind me, which was annoying even before covid.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Waste of time.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For the really disabled they should and or taking the elevators. I walk up the escalator to get exercise and to speed up where I am going, with that said, I am always cautious of those who are standing to one side especially if I see a cane and if I cannot get by I will just stop and wait until the escalator reaches the bottom or top. I see people in Tokyo very respectful of others on the escalator, however, go to Osaka well that is a whole other story, crazy and rude.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Should make mask wearing mandatory on escalators also.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And will it actually change anything? Same like all those mascots, posters warning about not fighting while being drunk in the subway, etc.

There are signs in escalators in my city about not walking on the escalators and still - people do it anyway. It's announced as well.

I wonder how much of Saitama tax payers money went into researching this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Simple until you are holding hands with your little kids and some ojisan tries to push past them, despite there being a staircase right next to the escalator, as in the pic above.

Oh the horror! How do people in other countries manage this? How about your child being on the step in front of you. Worked for me on the Tube.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Showing concern where no concern is necessary.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is the prime example of trying to fix something that's not broken.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Faster escalators may solve this [hard pressing] matter that Saitama seems to have major issues with.

And watch the elderly fall as they try to get on or off the elevators. Yes, this will definitely be popcorn time.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Problem is:

Not enough stairs in addition to escalators (how many times have I had to wait!)

stupid habit not to force kansai area to stay on left side on escalators

people are lazy and the ones shall use stairs when possible to not block people moving normally or faster than them (old people in Japan make speed reduction an average of 20 to 30 % in my opinion in general, by experience !).

if you are too slow or too fast, you should bear responsibility for the issue you create. Taking an escalator means you have minimal reflexes and that running means you can avoid bumping into people. I never bumped into people while running thousand of times because cautiously slowing when seeing pregnant lady, old people or disable person.
0 ( +2 / -2 )

Before doing this they should first regulate or enforce standard stairs height and width.

It is incredible how many staircases I encounter that have steps of varying size.

And there have actually been plenty of studies that show that when even one step is not even with the rest that staircase has multiple times the number of accidents than staircases that have all steps the same.

My station is fun to stand near the top or bottom and watch how people fall or nearly fall as the top step and the bottom step is about half the height of the rest as well as completely crooked going from about 30 cm on one side to about 15 cm on the other ( size is a guess based on my shoe size as I walk there).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Interestingly enough, in Japan there is no consensus on which side is for which. Tokyoites stand to the left while Osakans lean right

Interestingly enough, in the rest of the world people stand on whichever side they please!

I like the orderly approach in Japan, but let's not complicate things. There are only two options and it's not hard for out of towners to work out which is which wherever they happen to be visiting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've hardly travelled since the pandemic, so the only escalators I use now are the ones in my local shopping mall. I always like to walk up because it's a waste of time waiting, but I will not do so if someone is in front, even if there's space. I'd rather practise social distancing and waste a few seconds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Now it's not enough that you have to travel on fully packed trains, you will also be forced to be late wherever you go.

“No one is forcing you to be late. If your time management is so bad that you have to save a few seconds by walking up escalators (and thereby endangering others), then I'd suggest setting your alarm clock a minute earlier each day.”

I agree with you wholeheartedly. There seem to be a lot of guys here who don’t know they have much more choices than they feel they do.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before doing this they should first regulate or enforce standard stairs height and width.

Interesting point about height and width. Perhaps you can contact local council members about this. I’m sure they will listen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are in the midst of a global pandemic, vaccines are in short supply as well as the needles, people are diying from a killer virus, and a hand full of people are typing up ordinance rules etc to lead to a mandate on left or right side of an eculator, Iam sorry but dont we have our priorities out of order here?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Move on the left, like vehicles on the road, stand on the right. Not difficult. What next, banning walking on travelators?

Simple until you are holding hands with your little kids and some ojisan tries to push past them, despite there being a staircase right next to the escalator, as in the pic above.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is so stupid. If you want to prevent walking, then turn up the speed. Japan has the slowest escalators in the world. It's faster to walk up the stairs beside them. Hong Kong is a good example to copy, they are fast and efficient.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Simple until you are holding hands with your little kids and some ojisan tries to push past them, despite there being a staircase right next to the escalator, as in the pic above.

If the safety of your child is the thing then he or she should be in front of you on the way up and behind you on the way down in the event the escalator suddenly stops. Not beside you as in the event of a sudden stop that kid will go flying hold their hand or not and if you manage to keep hold there is a good chance you cause some serious injury to their arm.

Logic 101

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now that I've read past the first two paragraphs.... It's even more ridiculous!

Next they'll be issuing helmets that you need to put on before you're allowed to ride the escalator.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Interestingly enough, in the rest of the world people stand on whichever side they please!

Wouldn't try that in London, mate

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

You mean, ‘keep right’ not left!

-11 ( +10 / -21 )

Now it's not enough that you have to travel on fully packed trains, you will also be forced to be late wherever you go.

No one is forcing you to be late. If your time management is so bad that you have to save a few seconds by walking up escalators (and thereby endangering others), then I'd suggest setting your alarm clock a minute earlier each day.

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

Yes, great idea - let's take the time to create ordinances that aren't binding for things that aren't a problem.

But it is a problem, for at least 3 reasons:

1) It's dangerous. I have mobility issues and need to take up a bit more space on an escalator because of it. I can't tell you the number of times I've been bashed into by selfish people pushing to get past.

2) It slows everyone down. More passengers get through quicker when everyone stands. People walking up the escalator slow things down for everyone.

3) It damages the escalators.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites