Travel

Standing in the rush hour: London tube stops commuters walking on escalators

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Anna Pollitt
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A new standing-only escalator rule at Holborn tube station has left Londoners questioning everything they know about life. 

In a devastating blow to speedy walkers, the terminally late and anyone who doesn't fancy looking at poster ads for West End shows for two minutes every day, the busy zone 1 station is stopping commuters from walking on moving escalators.

TfL says it is breaking its own decades-long practice of asking people to stand to one side to let people pass, as part of a three-week trial to "increase the capacity" and prevent "queuing at the bottom" of escalators.

London tube

This sign is not applicable at Holborn

"What's the big deal, sadcases?" commuters outside the capital may well ask.

But it's this kind of naivety that separates busy and important London from the pedestrian cities that plod along with their calm, unhurried escalator conventions. Looking at you, Leeds.

It's an age-old travel etiquette that successfully separates ambitious locals from ambling tourists.

Us, contactless card in hand, gallop up the lefthand side of the tube, two stairs at a time, cursing any stray down-for-the-dayer who dares to step into our fast lane when we have somewhere to be. Every second we can shave off our daily shlep into work is a precious win, a sign that we are beating the system.

Now, here we are, willing to walk, but hemmed in with the relaxed and unhurried, beholden to the painfully slow churn of the moving stairs.

Have the violins stopped yet?

In a rare show of defiance, many Londoners simply ignored the rules (or probably pretended that they couldn't hear them):

Share your feelings, strong or otherwise, on the new tube rules in the comments section below or on our Facebook page

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at Stylist.co.uk, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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