TAIPEI, Feb 5 (Reuters Life!) - English-language “kiss and ride” signs at passenger drop-off areas along Taiwan’s new high-speed rail line are confusing passengers in a society where sendoffs are normally not intimate.
White-on-blue signs at the seven stations along the 345-kilometre (214-mile) Taiwan high speed railway use the colloquialism seen at some U.S. stations and airports which refers to an area where drivers can drop off their passengers, usually a spouse, in the morning and pick them up in the evening, often with an embrace.
The Chinese-language version does not use the word “kiss”.
“The English words ‘kiss and ride’ are a mystery to local people,” said Danny Bloom, a U.S.-born English teacher in the Chiayi, which is on the train’s route. “It implies that this is a place to kiss and then ride somewhere, but public kissing at train stations in Taiwan is a rarity.”
A Taipei-based blog, blog.taiwan-guide.org, run by an English teacher from Australia, has generated comments that question as well as encourage the signs.
“I rather like ‘kiss and ride’,” one commentator said. “It’s cute. It wouldn’t hurt Taiwanese people to show a little affection once in a while.”
The signs were posted about two years ago, a year after railway planners learnt that “kiss and ride” was used in Western countries, said a spokesman for the railway line operator, Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp.
High-speed rail authorities say they do not see a problem with the signs. A few foreigners have complained at one station in Taipei County, a spokeswoman said.
The trains were launched on January 5. Taiwan’s high-speed rail is the world’s fastest track-based system along with Shinkansen lines in Japan.