Rude commuters are fairly common in large cities. But a recent campaign in China’s bustling capital aims to inject a little politeness into trips.
With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the coming week, Chinese authorities decided to launch a campaign: “Be a Splendid Beijinger and Welcome APEC – Civilized, Polite Passengers.”
Politeness pays: Incentives are part of the campaign. It’s like a competition people have register for – and so far around 40,000 people have entered. In order to win, one simply has to be a decent commuter.
The prizes include subway passes and certificates of honor – a concept extremely valued by the Chinese. Also, during rush hour, photos of the contestants in the lead are put on posters, which are hung around public transport areas. “We must select the good passengers and let them show up with honor in our town!” says an open letter to riders circulated as part of the event.
There are also 8,000 uniformed guides who help the commuters go about in a civilized manner, such as staying in lines and not getting frisky with other commuters. “Competition is sure to be quite fierce,” said one guide named Zheng Shuyun, whose uniform includes a maroon sash with the words “you be a good passenger.”
In light of the upcoming summit, China has also tried to alleviate pollution. There’s a definite aspect of wanting to make a good impression on the international world – but there’s no denying how wonderful these changes are turning out to be for Beijingers.
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