Seoul switches to walking right in subway stations

2 Oct 2009

Seoul has changed from this month, the walking direction of subway stations, leading commuters to walk right, instead of the long-time habit of left.

Directional signs of the escalators, moving walkways and subway stations have also been modified.  The city is reminding people of the new rule for walking right through in-train broadcasting and display boards. Marshalls are now guiding subway users to keep right.

The government is trying to change the old walking habit for several reasons. First, as the traffic is driving right, pedestrians should walk right as well, it believes. The rule of walking left was introduced in 1921 under the Japanese colonial rule.

Secondly, most Koreans are right-handed and walking right is more convenient psychologically, authorities say. Currently, entrances and revolving doors of most public facilities operate for walking right.

According to the Korea Transport Institute, the switch is expected to increase walking speed and reduce pedestrian collisions.

Margie T Logarta

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