China bans 'uncivilized behaviors' on country's subways

Lilit Marcus, CNNPublished 29th October 2019
shanghai china metro
Hong Kong (CNN) — China is cracking down on bad subway etiquette.
State-run newspaper China Daily reports that eating, drinking, standing on seats, playing music on speakers, lying down and other "uncivilized behaviors" will be banned on all of the country's subways from April 1, 2020.
There will be an exception to the "no eating and drinking" rule for people who have medical conditions and for babies and small children.
The Ministry of Transport approved the new guidelines on October 29. This is the first time China has enacted subway legislation that affects the entire country. Previously, it was up to specific cities and regions to set their own guidelines.
For instance, Beijing already enacted its own ban on food and drink on the subway -- as well as on platforms and in station elevators -- in 2015. There, violators can be fined 500 yuan ($70).
"Providing safe and convenient travel services for passengers is always the fundamental starting point and the foothold of urban subway transit," reads a release from the Ministry of Transport. "It's important to roll out the managing regulation of urban subway organization and service from the national level."
While the new nation-wide subway laws will go into effect next year, it's not clear what penalties rule breakers will face. It's also unclear how people with medical conditions who are exempt from these rules will be verified.
Currently, 33 cities in China have subway systems, including Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Qingdao.
According to Railway Technology magazine, Beijing's subway system is second only to Tokyo in terms of rider density, with 3.2 billion rides taken in 2013. Shanghai and Guangzhou come in at fourth and fifth places, respectively, ahead of other, more established systems in New York City and Paris.
In addition to municipal subways, China has also invested heavily in inter-city rail.
The new West Kowloon Railway Station in Hong Kong is a major hub, with bullet trains to cities like Shanghai (8.25 hours) and Guilin (3.5 hours) making it much easier to travel around the country without having to fly.
And in 2018, the Chinese government greenlit a proposal to build an underwater bullet train between the port city of Ningbo and Zhoushan, an archipelago off the east coast.