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Let's discuss the way we use escalators

This week's featured article

by Satoshi Sugiyama

Staff Writer

When a train is about to depart a station, passengers hear an announcement saying, “Please stand clear of the closing doors.”

Now, when they ride an escalator at Tokyo Station, they will receive constant reminders from East Japan Railway Co. to “Please stand on both sides of the escalator.”

In an initiative launched at Tokyo Station on Monday, JR East is encouraging users not to leave space on one side for hurried passengers to walk up or down the escalator, but instead to stand on both sides. The campaign, which will run until Feb. 1, is aimed at preventing falls, as well as showing consideration for the elderly and passengers with disabilities, said Kuniyuki Takai, a JR East spokesperson.

The railway company has previously run campaigns reminding passengers to use handrails for safety, but this is the first time JR East has embarked on a safety promotion encouraging them to ride the escalators two-abreast.

The initiative is underway at two escalators leading up to the Chuo Line platform and four escalators that connect the basement floor of the underground Keiyo Line station to the ground-level concourse.

The station has posted signs, written both in Japanese and English, on walls and above escalators urging passengers not to walk on the escalator and to take the stairs if they are in hurry.

“Walking on escalators may lead to accidents caused by collisions or luggage,” one sign reads.

Escalator handrails are also decorated with pink tape and drawings of cats saying “Don’t walk!” or “Hold!” in speech bubbles. Railway officials wearing pink vests that remind passengers to use both sides and hold on to the handrails will also ride the escalators with passengers as part of the effort.

According to the Japan Elevator Association, a Tokyo-based industry body that compiles a report on escalator accidents every five years, the number of accidents increased to 1,475 in 2013 and 2014 from 1,200 in 2008 and 2009. The report says 882 of those cases were due to riding improperly, which includes walking up or down.

It’s customary in Japan to leave one side open for people not standing on the escalator. However, Takai said the escalator is not structurally designed for walking.

First published in The Japan Times on Dec. 18.

Warm up

One-minute chat about train stations.

Game

Collect words related to trains, e.g., commute, transport, car.

New words

1) initiative: to take charge before others, e.g., “The government needs to take the initiative for peace.”

2) abreast: side by side, e.g., “The road is wide enough for cars to drive four abreast.”

Guess the headline

JR East tells riders in Tokyo to s_ _ _ _ on both sides of e_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s to block pesky walkers

Questions

1) Why is the campaign asking of people?

2) How will JR employees enforce the new rules?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you walk on escalators?

2) What do you think about this campaign and do you think it will stop accidents?

Reference

人々の移動の要となる駅を利用している人の多く、特に通勤時間帯ともなればほとんどの人はその移動を早めたいと道を急いでいるでしょう。エスカレーターも同様で、左右に地域差があるとはいえ片方に立つ人が集まりもう片方は歩く人のために開けておくと言うのが日本での当たり前の光景となっています。一方でそのような乗り方には危険も伴うようです。エスカレーターでは歩かないことをすすめる取り組みを導入するため、多くの喚起文をもって鉄道会社がキャンペーンを開始しました。

両側に人が立つエスカレーターは日本の社会に定着するでしょうか。朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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