Train station escalators (stock image) 2
Photo: Natthapon Ngamnithiporn/Dreamstime

You are now advised to stand on both sides of the escalator at Tokyo Station

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It is customary, polite even, to stand on the left side of the escalator while leaving the right side for those who prefer to walk. However, East Japan Railway (JR East) is now encouraging commuters at the bustling Tokyo Station to stand on both sides of the escalator instead, in an effort to promote passenger safety.

According to a report by The Japan Times, the initiative was put in practice at Tokyo Station on Monday December 17 and will run until February 1 2019 – the point of which is to prevent falls and accidents due to collisions, and also to show ‘consideration for the elderly and passengers with disabilities’.

As part of this campaign, signs in both Japanese and English have been posted everywhere, urging commuters to not walk on the escalators but to take the stairs instead if they are rushing for time. The escalator handrails are even adorned with pink tapes featuring cartoon cats (naturally) reminding you to ‘Don’t walk!’ and ‘Hold!’. To drive home the point, railway staff in pink uniforms will even ride the escalators alongside passengers.

This initiative is being implemented at six escalators: four that connect the underground Keiyo Line Station with the concourse on the ground floor, plus the two at Chuo Line platform. So the next time you’re here, remember, it’s better to stand than walk on the escalators – it’s not rude, just safer.

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