Friday, February 17, 2017

The World Can Learn From Taiwan On Proper Metro Etiquette

The world indeed would be a much better place if people just try to give a little back to society in the form of social etiquette. Like as simple as queueing up properly and waiting for other passengers to get out of the metro, the train or the bus before stepping in. Should not be difficult right?

Taipei Metro
Taipei Metro

In Taiwan, they have this metro etiquette in place. This is perhaps the first that I have seen a city implementing such metro etiquette accompanied with very visible signs such as ‘waiting line’ and lane markings laid out efficiently to prevent commuter clutter. People really line up and wait for their turn. During rush hours, the lines are obviously much longer but orderly.

Other Asian cities with subways such as Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore do have lane markings as well but no glaring ‘waiting line’ sign such as in Taipei. What Taipei does is spoon-feeding metro etiquette to its commuters.

In Japan where public etiquette is seen as your business card to the outside world, they, however, do not have this system in place. But I guess the Japanese have no need for this. They do not feel obligated to be reminded to queue up properly because showing correct manners in public is already written in stone in their culture. It’s an automatic thing, like a reflex. If you have been to Japan, I am sure you will agree.

I guess every one of us would need a little bit of help then? Like a friendly reminder, just like what they do in Taipei.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the Read more link below]

Taipei Metro

Just like this man, waiting and standing in line properly.

In Singapore, though I have witnessed locals lining up for the metro which was quite cool I thought. I even made a blog post about this: MRT/Metro Discipline: Only in Singapore? I didn’t really see an enforced – you have to line up here system in the metros there. I have also seen some commuters who don’t really follow or pay attention to queueing up properly. But it is a breath of fresh air when we see people being courteous in public.

I also wondered that perhaps this is a cultural norm thing. In Asia, imposing rules to achieve the end result of discipline is very much necessitated, otherwise there is an opportunity for people ignoring them. Could this be an issue of trust? Of a society that is still developing?

In the western world, though (mostly in developed countries in Europe), nobody does the queueing in the metro. It is just understood that you have to be considerate and that you have to go with the natural flow and progression of things. So far this works, although you will have some rule breakers every now and then but nothing unusual that would cause some sort of social anarchy in the metros. Europe on the civilisation scale has gone a long way. The norms and values in the societies in Europe have developed and matured throughout the centuries. I know the Dutch would say -- We do not have to discipline you like a child because you are an adult! It is therefore expected that people (adults) behave properly in public and show social grace.

Social etiquette may be a very simple thing but it has a great impact to every one of us.

Take for example when a stranger smiles at us. What do we do in response? We (tend to) smile back. And when we do this, we release dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin and serotonin. These are the happy 4 ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters in our bodies that give us a light and relaxed feeling thereby lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Smiling is good for our health, and I am assuming, will not hasten the wrinkles forming as well, haha.

But we also know that there are people out there who do not really smile at others in public, but they do observe proper public etiquette. Well, at least this makes our heart rate and blood pressure stable compared to when someone cuts in front of us. I do have a confession to make: I am someone who really would call out a queue cutter in public. It is a pet peeve of mine and I cannot tolerate this kind of uncouth social behaviour.

So maybe we can all reflect upon on how they do it in Taipei? Their approach is brilliant and a stress saver. Although I doubt if this would be applicable in developed countries such as I have earlier mentioned about Europe. Albeit, it is not bad also for European metros to remind commuters to wait behind the lines and queue up, right? But I do doubt it, haha.

Speaking of stress saver, the metro gates in Taipei have a melodious sound (can be annoying to some I guess) when you check in and out. I call them the piano tunes. During rush hour the sounds become an unorchestrated musical piece, haha.

Here is the short video I managed to take:

I was really amused by the musical sounds of the metro gates. The checking in sound is different from the checking out. Great idea!

TIP: The Taipei Metro is the best and fastest form of transportation in the city. It brings commuters in just a matter of minutes to their destination in the city centre or in nearby districts. It takes half an hour to reach the suburbs. Taking the cab would be wise though if you are with a larger group.

For tourists, it is cheaper to take the 24-hour, 48-hour or 72-hour passes. For more information go here: Taipei Metro Guide (in English). You can buy them at the stations.

Here is my photo gallery:

Ximen Station

Ximen Station is where you get off to visit Ximending Pedestrian Zone.

You can see everyone lining up before the waiting line. Each sliding door to the metro train has its own little queue.

Taipei Metro

Yup, proper metro manners in Taipei =)

I cannot help but take a photo of this advert poster in the metro. Cute, haha.

Taipei Metro

When you check in and check out of the Metro, the gates give off a piano key tune.

Taipei metro rules

More proper queueing in the metro =)

Travel Period: January 2017
Destination: Taipei, Taiwan

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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