In Price Tags’ quest to provide you with important information and to ensure you also win any urban trivia bet you may wager, we want you to hear this first-it is entirely okay just to stand on that urban escalator.
As written in the New York Times -“It may sound counterintuitive, but researchers said it is more efficient if nobody walks on the escalator.” All of this started when Paul Wiedefeld the general manager of the Washington DC metro alleged that the culture of walking up the escalator on the left hand side and standing on the escalator n the right hand side could “damage the escalator”. Of course Otis the escalator company immediately responded that this urban legend was wrong, and Mr. Wiedefeld then said standing side by side on the escalator would be safer and reduce the chance of falls. Otis responded that “its longtime position has been that passengers should not walk on escalators, as a matter of safety.”
Of course Transport for London had a trial in Holborn Station in 2015 with an escalator that is 77 feet tall. The challenge was to “change passengers’ behaviors and get them to stand side by side riding — not walking — during peak periods.” The results? Standing on both sides of the escalator reduced congestion by 30 per cent. But Sam Schwartz, New York City’s former traffic commissioner notes that getting North Americans to just stand on an escalator is challenging. “In the U.S., self-interest dominates our behavior on the road, on escalators and anywhere there is a capacity problem. I don’t believe Americans, any longer (if they ever did), have a rational button.”