Monday, October 5, 2009

She Told Me To Walk This Way

Public transportation hubs, such as subway stations and airports, and public institutions started a campaign for walking on the right, Thursday [Oct. 1].
The campaign is a rehearsal for the “walking on the right” drive that will start in July 2010 nationwide, said the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
However, the hasty switch of the walking direction is causing a jumble among pedestrians, including the visually impaired.
Subway stations in Seoul have gone through or are currently changing the direction of escalators and posting informational signs to promote the campaign.

Thus begins a story in Korea Times titled Walking on Right Causes Confusion. For some background, see my post back in April when the plan was announced by clicking here. Most of the stations I've been in lately have made the switch. Above and immediately below are photos from the Itaewon station (which probably explains the English translation).

Here is a pair of signs explaining the new system on the platform at Dongjak. If we walk on the right, the world will become happy rainbows and BBQ:

Here is the signage at the Exit 3 escalators of Jeungmi on line 9, outside my building.

And it's not just escalators getting the treatment; here's a passageway at Seouldae on line 2:

OTOH, I noticed that the transition process had not yet begun at Balsan station on line 5 as of Saturday. After mentioning the need to redo facilities and Braille signage for the blind, the article finishes with:
“Whether right or wrong, we have been accustomed to walking on the left for the past decades,” said Kim Ki-bok of the Citizen Traffic Safety Association.

As pal Andy points out, those "decades" extend back to the period of Japanese colonialism. If the government framed the campaign in terms of shuffling off the bonds of Japanese oppression, compliance would be 100%.

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