A new set of rules governing behavior on the Shanghai subway came into effect on Tuesday, forbidding listening to electronic devices without earphones inside subway cars.
This was long called for. Subway cars are public spaces where nobody should disturb others. However, in reality there are many who play music or watch movies on the smartphones or tablets without using earphones, disturbing co-passengers. As if the music and movies are not loud enough, they also exclaim or laugh loudly, oblivious to the reaction of others.
In the absence of clear rules forbidding such behavior, there was nobody the disturbed passengers could turn to for assistance. Even if they had complained, the subway authorities would have said they were not empowered to help them.
A person has no right to disturb others with his or her movie or music in public spaces. Every passenger has the right to ride the subway without being disturbed.
Thanks to the new rules, those taking a subway can now complain to staff members about smartphone noises.
That the news about the new subway rules was read by over 300 million people on the micro blog is the biggest evidence that people are happy and are looking forward to a relatively quiet ride on the subway.
The new rules also forbid people from eating or drinking inside subway cars, which, too, is a welcome change, as sometimes the food is smelly and lets off an unpleasant smell that can cause discomfort to fellow passengers. The new rules will help create a better environment for everyone on the subway.
The only drawback with the new rules is that they do not specify punitive measures. For example, there is no listed punishments such as fines or warnings, for those violating the rules. Maybe the subway staff members will have to be artful and persuasive while implementing the new rules.