The local quality control bureau has asked Shanghai's metro operator to remove the signs that advise passengers to "stand on the right and walk on the left" now that the local government has stopped advocating the practice for safety reasons, the metro operator said Tuesday.
The government decided to stop promoting the practice due to fears about passenger injury or damage to the escalators, according to Shen Weimin, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision.
The practice encourages riders standing on the escalator to move to the right so others can walk on the left side unhindered.
Shen said the escalators may suddenly break down or suffer damage if people constantly walk or run on them, the Oriental Morning Post reported Tuesday. Furthermore, the 20-centimeter-high steps weren't made for walking or running, increasing the chance that someone might trip and fall.
The quality control bureau took up the change after Zang Zhijun, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee, advised the government to stop advocating the practice in a proposal at the local CPPCC session, according to a report on the news website Xinmin.cn.
The local government began advocating the practice during the World Expo with posted signs and public announcements at metro stations, Zang said.
"The government promoted 'stand on the right, walk on the left' as a gesture of civility, but it has also ignored a potential danger," Zang told the Global Times. "If the government does not stop advocating this practice, it would have to take responsibility if an accident occurred."
Although Shanghai Shentong Metro Group has stopped supporting the practice, it does not plan to prohibit passengers from walking on escalators, said Lan Tian, a press officer with the metro operator.
Some passengers saw little need for the change. "I don't see how this practice is very dangerous," said Xu Zhenyu, a resident who takes metro Line 10 to work each day. "I will keep doing it because I think it makes the escalators more efficient."
Li Xiaohui, a passenger who often takes metro Line 2, said that he had already grown accustomed to the practice. "I am used to standing on the right side of the escalator to make way for people in a hurry, but it is reasonable for the government to stop advocating this practice for safety reasons," he said.