News from the subway in the past couple weeks:
- “Can’t the city give some street performers some space?” – Street performers in Shanghai are often lumped together with beggars as public nuisances, but often they are just free spirits chasing a musical dream. One cited example are Tuotuo and A-qing, a couple of guys who play the guitar and sing every evening at the City Plaza Mall in Jing’an, often attracting a crowd of mostly young women and foreigners before being “politely” cut short by the city beat patrol. Street performers are often cited under Article 25 of the “Regulations for the Management of City Appearance & Environmental Sanitation”, which assigns fines to and confiscation of the equipment of businesses and individuals obstructing public walkways to set up stalls, sell merchandise, or otherwise affect city’s public image. The author of the piece consults sociology Professor Gu at the University of Shanghai, who suggests that the city set aside certain allowed areas for use by street performers.
- “World Expo mascot makes an appearance on escalator handrails” – OK, so we lie. The actual headline names the mascot by his real name, Haibao, but who actually remembers that? (As opposed to the much more clever, literal Sea Baby, or SB) Anyhow, he’s showing up on escalator handrail covers at Zhongshan Park, which will eventually spread to other stations in the Shanghai Metro.
- “Metro pickpocket team scooped up by police dragnet on a dark and stormy night” – Last week a team of 80 special police agents arrested a team of 20 pickpockets living in homes and hotels near the Zhenping Rd subway station on Line 3. The group targeted mainly young women wearing backpacks on Lines 2 and 3. The police also seized nearly RMB 160 thousand in stolen property, including cash, gold jewelry, digital cameras and MP3 players.
- “City residents to have the final say in station announcements” – The Metro company has decided to do away with commercial advertisements in the subway train station announcements and replace them with announcements that are more helpful to city residents. The current announcements in Chinese say something like “We are now arriving at XXX station; passengers going to Christine Bakery and Learning English School please prepare to exit.” The Metro company is looking for passenger feedback on what public service announcements and famous landmarks to include in the new announcements. Feedback will be collected through May 31 on a form in Chinese at the Shentong Metro company’s website. The Metro company is also committing itself to display more graphic public service ads in subway stations.