Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Escalators 101

It’s time to start enforcing the law of escalators. That law is: When riding an escalator, stand on the right and walk on the left. This is by no means a law exclusive to New York. It applies anywhere in the world there are escalators. Stand on the right. Walk on the left. It’s easy and simple.

No one is required to walk up the escalator if they don’t want to. By all means, relax and enjoy the ride if it amuses you or if you are injured, elderly or just tired. But be sure that you stand to the right to let others pass. Your condition is no excuse to deprive others the precious freedom of movement or delay their getting home to their loved ones.

And when someone says “excuse me” on an escalator and you’re standing on the left, move. Step immediately to the right and let people pass. I don’t care how much luggage you have or how much you like standing next to the person you’re with, move. Tired after walking all day? Move. Don’t understand English? ¡Muévete! Bougez! 이동! Muoviti! 移動Move immediately and without complaint or accept being shoved or trampled. A good rule of enforcement is to say “Excuse me” politely three times. If the person is still in your way, knock them to the right where they belong or stomp them down so you may walk over them.

Think of our sidewalks, stairs and walkways as roads with lanes. Just as the left lane is for passing on our highways, it’s for passing on our walkways as well. You know that horribly frustrating feeling you get when some doofus is driving 55 miles per hour or slower in the passing lane? Imagine that same feeling amplified 10 times when you see the train you are trying to catch and a polite “Excuse me” goes unheeded several times.

I understand that New York is filled with many people from parts of the country and world where escalators may not be common. When I worked at JFK Airport, the escalator in the American Airlines arrivals terminal would be shut off when the flights from Haiti arrived because passengers from those flights were so unfamiliar with escalators. People from the third world or rural parts of the U.S. get a six month grace period to learn how to use an escalator; that’s being generous.

Let’s educate our fellow man and enforce the law of the escalator with sharp elbows and steel-toed boots.


Matt Ceccato said...

"People from the third world or rural parts of the U.S. get a six month grace period to learn how to use an escalator; that’s being generous."

Give them three. That's plenty.

Vontastic said...

they WANT you to miss your train, just for SPITE! once I said 'excuse me' three times to a couple who wouldn't move out of the way. I didn't shove them out of the way because they may have had knives. They laughed as they watched me miss my train. people are evil.

Helen Griffin said...

Yes, yes, yes! I am often a standee--but yes, to be on an escalator, and feel the rush of air that alerts you to an incoming train (even before you can hear it!) and to be stuck behind idiots who refuse to move make me want to push them aside (or down!)

Emily said...

I believe, actually, in some parts of the world its stand to the left walk on the right (those silly Brits do everything goofy-style) but the premise is the same: if the 400 people in front of you all sorted themselves out standing on one side, passing on the other, follow suit.