Should we ban eating in subway?
Updated: 2014-05-28 08:55
The draft regulation on rail traffic safety issued by Beijing municipality in February banned eating and drinking in subway carriages, and said offenders could be fined up to 500 yuan ($80). The heated debate sparked by the proposed move has been revived after the removal of the ban clause from the revised draft, says an article on Cnr.cn. Excerpts:
Those who support the ban say allowing people to eat and drink in Metro carriages is like inviting them to dump garbage, which will create problems for other passengers and increase the cleanup costs. Besides, the strong smell of some food is loathed by many passengers and drinks spilt on the floor of carriages could become a safety hazard.
But those opposed to the ban say that stopping some people, especially senior citizens and children, from eating or drinking on the Metro is not advisable. So a violator should be fined according to the merit of his/her case. Also, it is very difficult to implement the ban because of the huge flow of passengers in the subway.
Both groups have their points, but neither can deny that eating and drinking on the Metro is inappropriate. Other Chinese cities, like Shanghai and Shenzhen, have already banned eating and drinking in the subway but not many people have been fined for violating the ban. This is not because local authorities are not doing their job properly or the ban is difficult to implement, but because the ban is a means to an end, not an end itself.
Similar regulations to improve the subway system and to make commuting comfortable for passengers should be implemented in a flexible manner.
Many people once disputed whether it was reasonable and realistic to ban smoking in public places. Today, fewer smokers are seen smoking in public places because they are afraid of been penalized and have become conscious that smoking harms not only smokers but also non-smokers.
The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.