Saitama is the first in Japan to enforce a ban on walking on escalators

SAITAMA — Authorities in this prefecture just north of Tokyo are preparing to enforce escalator etiquette to crack down on falls and injuries, such as those caused by passengers rushing for trains.

Under an order that comes into effect on October 1, users are required to stand still and not go up or down.

The Saitama Prefectural Assembly passed a draft ordinance regulating the use of escalators during a March 26 session, making it the first in the country to do so, according to Party Assembly members. Liberal Democrat, the largest group in the assembly, which sponsored it.

“We need to send a strong message to the public to change the practices that have become so widespread that they are perceived as a custom,” said Shinichi Nakayashiki, political affairs chief of the LDP assembly group, referring to the statement. importance of the order.

Escalator operators will be required to keep users informed about the safe use of equipment.

The prefectural government may issue guidelines or a warning to operators whose efforts to get users to comply with the new rule are deemed insufficient.

However, the ordinance carries no penalties for users and operators if they break the rule.

Nationwide, there were 805 injury cases involving people traveling on escalators between January 2018 and December 2019, according to data from the Japan Elevator Association, an industry group.

The Tokyo-based association called on users to stay still and hold the handrail when using an escalator, saying the equipment is not designed to anticipate sudden movements.

Some members of the assembly opposed the attempt to regulate the use of escalators, calling it premature.

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