Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

It IS faster for everyone to stand on the escalator than walk

iStock-516652590.jpg

The London Underground is, without a doubt, the least fun place to spend rush hour. There’s the crowds, the shoving, the sudden fluctuations in temperature, and the strange smells.

And let’s not forget all the outraged tuts and sighs of your fellow commuters.

The most frustrating of all, however, are the people who flout escalator etiquette. The rules are made very clear from the get go – stand on the right, and walk on the left. This way, us speedy gonzales’ of the world can sprint up the moving staircase to our destination, while zen folks with more time on their hands can stand and slowly glide.


Read more: The most glamorous commute in the world


However, last year, Transport for London (TfL) decided to throw a spanner in the works and demanded that we try out a new regime. A regime which saw sprinters stand still, in a bid to test whether it would be more efficient if people were told to stand on both sides of the escalator.

Would the majority of people get through the station faster as a result?

What sorcery is this?

What sorcery is this?

As it turns out, yes.

It genuinely is better and more efficient to stand rather than walk on the escalator, according to the results of a study obtained through a Freedom of Information request from Gizmodo.

While it may sound like sorcery, the results were undeniable. When Holborn (the guinea pig tubestation) was busy, more commuters were able to travel up the escalator in a given timeframe when everyone stood stock still – a fact that was made clear in the numbers. Standing-only escalators saw up to 151 passengers zooming by per minute, while an escalator where commuters were still allowed to walk saw a measly 115.


Read more: 10 ways to stop your commute corrupting your mood


“Greater throughputs [a fancy term for foot traffic] are seen on escalators six and seven [the two escalators where the standing-only rule was tested] when there is a low proportion of passengers walking up the escalators,” the report said.

“This indicates that during very busy periods a greater throughput can be achieved when passengers stand on both sides of the escalator.”

Currently, TfL have no plans to roll this rule out across their network, and for that we’re very grateful; old habits die hard, after all. Plus there’s nothing quite like charging up the left-hand side of an escalator to make you feel as if you’re actively doing something to tackle your tardiness.

Images: iStock

Related

iStock-515671600.jpg

Women stage protest after man slams commuter for doing makeup on tube

emma watson books london underground.jpg

Emma Watson hides feminist books on the tube for commuters to find

pregnant woman work.jpg

Pregnant train commuter “forced to stand for two hours” in London

Comments

More

Clueless nearly never got made because of Hollywood sexism

As Cher would say, as if

by Jasmine Andersson
23 Jun 2017

Starbucks are hiring 2,500 refugees across Europe

by Nicola Colyer
23 Jun 2017

Man carries out flower girl duties with immense pride and solemnity

His commitment is quite something

by Amy Swales
23 Jun 2017

Shocking US law says men can finish sex if woman withdraws consent

Shocking

by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

Serial fans, Adnan Syed has been given a second chance in court

New hope for Syed supporters

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Jun 2017

The scientific reason summer turns you into a horrible person

A new study confirms that we’re not very nice when we’re too hot

by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

The 5 most surprising things I learnt from appearing on First Dates

What's it really like to appear on First Dates?

by Jasmine Andersson
22 Jun 2017

Rihanna just gave a heartbroken fan the best relationship advice

The pop star took time out to give a fan this brilliant tip

by Stylist
22 Jun 2017

First Dates fans respond to “shocking” mansplaining incident

“A frightened, insecure monkey hanging on to his patriarchal perch for dear life”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Jun 2017

Golden rules of work happiness from Europe’s female tech leaders

From nap rooms to therapists and no overtime

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017