Why Railway Companies in Japan are Asking People Not to Walk on Escalators

Tokyo Culture Manners 2019.11.21
There are two kinds of people, those who walk up/down the escalators and those who standstill on an escalator. We see posters and other signages asking people not to walk up or down the escalator stairs but why is that? Is it just the railway companies that are asking? Is it really necessary to follow these rules?

The debate

Currently, in Japan, people are on social media debating if people who use escalators should be walking up/down them or not.

Both sides have their opinions but in Japan, there are companies, associations and even local governments that are asking people NOT to walk up and down escalators. This campaign is called "Let's all hold on to the handrails" campaign and was announced on the 17th of July 2019.  There have been similar campaigns held since mid 2018, and those have also been announced by JR east and other companies and social entities.

Why are they asking NOT to walk up/down?

Having the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming up next year in Japan, Tokyo estimates its day time population to be reaching 15 million+, that's almost 170% of the ordinary population in Tokyo.
While Japan, as a country, is aiming to reach 40 million foreign visitors throughout the year.
Currently, we have approximately 30 million annual visitors, so that's another 10 million on top.

You can imagine how crowded that would be.

So, the government and the local transports companies are trying their best to prevent the chaotic situation, and this campaign is one of them.
They say that when in crowded situations or at long escalators, it is more efficient and safer to carry two people on each of the escalator steps rather than having one line of people standing and leaving space for those who are rushing up/down the escalators.
  • Kawasaki city asking people not to walk when on escalators.
JR West official twitter account announcing the "Let's all hold onto the handrails" campaign.

Other Important Facts

The argument above mostly mentions about   Companies that make escalators also ask people not to walk when traveling on an escalator.

This is because of the following reasons,
- You could accidentally bump into people causing them to fall over.
- You can lose balance if you rush up or down the escalator and fall over.
- Some people only can hold onto the particular side of the escalator due to injury and other reasons.

Furthermore, they also advise people to use the stairs if they are in a hurry.

So, what are your thoughts on this?
Would you walk up/down or standstill on an escalator?

Let us know your opinion in the comments section below or leave us a comment on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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