By Ryan Gandolfo
Last week, the Ministry of Transport added new regulations that will ban eating and drinking on subway cars nationwide, with exceptions for infants and people with certain medical conditions.
China Daily reported that the policy is set to take effect on April 1, 2020, which also includes conduct rules cracking down on bad subway etiquette, such as stepping on seats (apparently thats a thing), lying down on a bench or floor and playing music or videos out loud. However, the ministry didnt specify punishments for subway debauchery in the countrywide policy, according to the state-run newspaper.
The no eating and drinking on the subway rule has been enacted in multiple Chinese cities dating back several years. Wuhan was the first city on the Chinese mainland to ban food and drinks on the subway on December 28, 2013, dishing out fines of up to RMB200. Other cities like Beijing, Shenzhen and Nanjing have also introduced rules that prohibit food and drink consumption while commuting on the subway. In May, the Beijing Municipal Commission for Transport banned eating and drinking as well as prohibiting product promotions and taking up more than one seat (also known as manspreading). Any violation is also said to affect commuters personal credit scores.
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According to CNN, China has for the first time passed subway legislation that affects the whole country, meaning the PRCs 33 cities with operating subway systems will need to enforce these new rules. However, how strictly each city enforces the ban will remain to be seen.
As of June 2019, Chinas metro system extended nearly 4,600 kilometers. Shanghai led the pack with 669 kilometers, followed by Beijing (617 kilometers) and Guangzhou (473 kilometers), according to 21st Century Business Herald, cited by China Daily. But with more than RMB600 billion invested in the sector in over 30 cities last year, just a few cities were able to meet their breakeven point. In 2018, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen and Beijing metro systems had a balanced expense-to-revenue ratio, while 24 other cities that were surveyed had operated at a loss over the year.
With new legislation for a swath of uncivilized behaviors on the way, possible fines may help offset cities subway costs.
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[Cover image via Thats]
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