98% Use Escalators Wrong, Here’s Why

98% Use Escalators Wrong, Here’s Why


So every morning I feel as if I’m trying to
accomplish a particularly tricky quest. Wrestle out of the packed subway car – done. Avoid getting lost and carried away by the
crowd – done. Reach the escalator and join the gridlock
at the entrance – done. At least all the commuters are following the
common escalator rule: stand on the right side, walk on the left. After all, it’s the most effective way to
use an escalator, right? Actually, it’s wrong! Wait, what? But this practice makes perfect sense: you
can always choose whether you want to relax and let the machinery do all the work or save
time and walk up! Well, let me break it to you: it turns out
that we’ve been using escalators inefficiently all this time. A 2011 study from the University of Greenwich
figured out that while 75% of people choose to stand on escalators, only 25% walk up. It means that half of the escalator is serving
just one-quarter of commuters. Besides, there are more gaps on the walking
side of the escalator than on the side where people stand. In 2015, the London Underground started a
three-week trial of a revolutionary approach to using escalators. They chose the Holborn Tube Station, which
is a busy transfer station, with 56 million people passing through every year. Employees of Transport for London asked commuters
not to walk on the escalators. You might guess that asking politely wouldn’t
work in a crowd of people desperate to get to work. That’s why the employees used megaphones and
even blocked walking traffic. On top of that, they asked people traveling
together to stand next to each other on the escalators. As for couples, they were encouraged to hold
hands to serve as a live fence and prevent others from passing. The organizers of the experiment were astonished
to find out that the method worked even better than they had predicted. See for yourself: during the morning rush
hour between 08:30 to 09:30, the average escalator used to transport about 12,750 people. But during the trial period of standing rules,
the same escalator moved 16,220 people! Plus, according to the researchers, the congestion
at the entrance of the escalators was reduced by almost 30%! But if you think that the trials were going
smoothly and painlessly, think again. Imagine that you’re in a hurry to catch your
train or to get to your work place, and suddenly you’re told to hold your horses and stand
still! Wouldn’t you rebel? Well, the commuters who unwittingly participated
in the experiment did. People kept pushing each other, shouting,
and arguing. It seems that the problem lies in human nature:
we want the result right away and are unwilling to postpone it in the interest of the greater
good. On the one hand, it makes sense that the more
commuters to get on an escalator at once, the smaller the bottleneck at the entrance
will be. Therefore, your ride will take less time. But for escalator walkers, it sounds counter-intuitive
and doesn’t feel like a worthy trade-off. Interestingly, people didn’t feel all that
indignant about the new rule on longer escalators. On such escalators, commuters already preferred
to stand on the walking side rather than move. First, the distance is too long to climb. Secondly, escalator stairs are wider and higher
than your ordinary stairs, and you need to spend more energy to get to the top. But is the time difference between walking
and standing really that great? Not at all! Researchers from Capgemini Consulting timed
themselves while standing vs. walking on escalators at the Green Park Station in London. It turned out that it took a commuter 26 seconds
to walk to the top of the moving escalator and 40 seconds to get there while standing
still. At the same time, the total time people had
to spend standing in line at the entrance of the escalator and then riding it became
significantly shorter if commuters were standing on the escalator side by side. So, if 40% of people walked on the escalator,
the average time for the walkers was 46 seconds and for the standers 138 seconds. But if all the people stood, the average time
for everyone was 59 seconds. As you see, the walkers had to spend 13 seconds
longer on the escalator, but for the standers, it was a serious 79-second improvement. As for the line at the entrance of the escalator,
instead of 73 people, it dropped to 24. But there’s another argument for why people
should stand on escalators side by side. When most commuters stand on the right (or
on the left, depending on the country), the weight on the stairs gets distributed unevenly. As a result, one side of the escalator experiences
a much greater strain than the other. It leads to an increased risk of the escalator
breaking down, which, in turn, may lead to some nasty accidents. By the way, since we’ve started to talk about
dangers and risks, walking is the main cause of escalator injuries. With all the benefits of standing on escalators,
why is it so difficult to get people to follow this new rule? The problem is that most commuters, especially
Americans, prefer to keep a bigger distance between themselves and others. Have you ever seen people putting their bags
next to them on buses or trains so that nobody can join them? Right, that’s what I’m talking about. The average American likes to have at least
1 and 1/2 ft (0.45 m) of personal space separating them from other people. Naturally, when you stand on an escalator,
this distance is much smaller. It makes people feel uncomfortable, and some
of them choose to walk to avoid the risk of a stranger invading their personal space. On top of that, the “walking on the one side,
standing on the other” rule is deeply ingrained in people’s minds. At the times when cities were becoming more
crowded, the rhythm of life was also getting more hectic. People needed to get from one place to another
as fast as possible, and that’s when the walking-standing split became the norm. And here we are now. Anyway, the idea of all commuters standing
on escalators side by side sounds reasonable. But there are also a lot of experts who are
sure that walking on escalators is still a much safer and better way to get to your goal. First of all, when all the commuters stand
next to each other in two lines, it puts additional weight on the escalator. As a result, it may start to break down or
wear out much faster, which may lead to dangerous accidents. The supporters of the “everybody-walks” idea
also say that if nobody was standing on the stairs and everybody was moving, there would
be no gridlocks at all. Well, although reasonable, this advice doesn’t
sound like fun when you’re returning from the airport with a heavy suitcase. Another argument in favor of walking on the
escalator is that when you move, you pay more attention to your surroundings. Thus, you may notice that something’s gone
amiss and avoid an accident. And finally, they say that walking up the
stairs is healthy and counts as doing physical exercise. Hey I like anything that counts towards something,
don’t you? So, what’s your opinion on the matter? Do you use your escalator time to watch cat
videos or make your legs fitter? Sound off in the comments below! Remember to give this video a “like,” share
it with your friends, and click “subscribe” to go up the escalator to the Bright Side
of life!

100 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Everyone I've ever seen just stands in the middle of the escalator lol you wait for the lazy people or skip past lol

  2. I get into arguments all the time because I stand on the escalator . If people want to walk take the regular stairs .

  3. Who else was thinking why does the comments has only like 40 likes and then realized this video came out about a day ago

  4. My daughter forwarded this to me:  WHY???   Is it over?  I just woke up..First time I ever gave a YouTube a thumbs-down..Ugggg

  5. Their logic is flawed. It lessens the congestion for the standers while slowing down walkers. I get there are double standers than walker so overall it helps more than it hurts however its slowing down important people or at least less lazy people while helping people with less urgent matters or less motivation to exercise, when they could have used the left side and walked.
    So in essence it helps the ones who don't want to help themselves and punishes those who actually help themselves.
    Basically communism for escalators…

  6. Left is walk, right is stand of an escalator in Canada 🇨🇦 too. To try to change that would be almost impossible with our growing population and our transit system.

  7. I think the fact on the matter is that escalators are dangerous no matter if you're walking or standing. So just take the stairs! 😎 I'm just saying. Don't get upset at me for saying this please and thank you. 😊
    Peace! ✌

  8. Escalators are supposed to be for standing on, stairs for walking. But humans now have the patience of a gnat. The faster cell phones get the less people want to wait. It's why passing on the shoulder of the highway, which is illegal, is now the thing to do. Everyone is in a hurry to go nowhere lol

  9. Nahhhhhh you will never see an Indian walking on escalator 😇😇😇we have a whole different thinking 🤗

  10. I didn't really thunk an escalator would be such a hassle. Just get on and wow problem solved.😐But I guess there's a whole nother story about it

  11. The same reason people don’t use zipper method in the USA, because people feel like you are an h hole for cutting in front of them regardless of the real truth.

  12. I don't know this kind of rule before because i didn't live in a busy and neat city like Hongkong and other cities like that.., so it doesn't really matter where u stand here.. then i went to Hongkong a few days ago and i realized this.. because people there usually take the MTR, during the busy hours the station was very crowded and even 1 second matter to them.. many people will choose to walk.. and some will take their time, so u really need to follow this rule

  13. TIMESTAMPS:
    To walk, or not to walk? That is the question. 0:50
    Is the time difference really that great? 3:36
    Why people should stand on escalators side by side 4:43
    Please, stay out of my personal space! 5:15
    What the supporters of the "everybody-walks" idea say 6:21

  14. Well, Apparently.. Even if you put a signage of having to walk in one particular side and standing still. NOBODY CARES IN MY COUNTRY!

    So were good? Not really..

  15. Escalators move, so I don't bother walking unless I'm running late, which is rare. I always leave earlty…people should try it, then you don't get stressed, you don't care if you just miss an underground train amd can stand on escalators. Wish Londoners would learn this skill.

  16. 02:47 – 02:57 You blame the problem on human nature but actually you are describing American Culture more than any other culture in the world.

  17. Why does it say to stay on the right on an escalator in the thumbnail when he's standing on the left?

  18. In my country there's always a sign board on the escalator saying "stand on the right side, give way walk on the left"

  19. When I was five I was playing and jumping on an escalator because I’d seen it in a cartoon and I fell and I got a huge cut all down my leg.

  20. 5:51 I heard from a native english speaker teacher that the correct pronounciation of "uncomfortable" is "unconfterble", but here we actually hear "uncomfortable". Does that depend on the region where the speaker is from?

  21. We stand always on the escalator, and our country doesn’t have working escalators at the train station

  22. I have no patience for this, I just wanna know how we are doing it wrong and how to do it in one or two simple sentences. I don’t wanna hear what researchers had to say or how they found out or the average number of people using it. It’s a waste of my time.

  23. In Japan and Singapore people stand on the left side of escalators leaving the right side free for people who are in a hurry. This particularly applies at train stations, airports etc.

  24. No matter what this video says, I’ll always walk on escalators and I hate peasants who stand on the left side 🤦‍♀️

  25. I usualy prefer to walk on the escalator. I keep my brain busy and so I don't think so I spend to much time still when I am in a hurry. Plus, I can make some exercise.

  26. The walking-standing rule gives people the freedom to choose standing or waiting.
    It's not efficient to make those standing stand for a shorter time coz they agreed to stand and wait anyways otherwise they would have walked. So u r giving them a privilege they didn't ask for.
    On the other hand, those who walked really don't want to wait to the extent that they exerted the extra effort to walk.
    In other words, stopping the rule means taking the "less time-option" from people who need it and giving it to those who don't. Not fair

  27. If I need to catch my train/bus don't want to have to stand on an escalator and let my bus/train go by if I can walk down the escalator and make the bus/train.

  28. 2:57 i did not realize that all this while you were just reading out stuff written on a paper to narrate this… till you mis-read computers instead of commuters

  29. Well, I'd take safety first. A standing still line makes it more organized, thus safer, especially getting in/out in dam fast escalators, or for elders who have troubles walking.

  30. If you stand on the Right side of the escalators in the Munich Metro, the People would shout at you. The same as in London.

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