There is an unspoken rule that every city dweller knows,
it’s the split.
Every escalator is divided into two sides.
One side is for the standers
and the other side is for the walkers
This escalator etiquette has been established in cities all over the world,
比如 东京 莫斯科 华盛顿
Tokyo, Moscow, Washington DC.
It’s a delicate balance that’s been struck,
forced out of a battle between the walkers and the standers,
that’s been going on as long as escalators have been around.
Escalator walkers and standers have learned to accommodate
or at least tolerate each other.
But this split isn’t the best solution,
because it’s inefficient and unsafe.
A better way has been proven through research and recommended by
escalator manufacturers and public transit officials.
But changing people’s escalator behavior isn’t easy.
Officials know because they’ve tried,
Because these two groups insist on using the escalator as they see fit.
So what’s the right way to ride an escalator,
and why is it so hard to get everybody to do it.
How people are supposed to use the escalator
has always been a contentious topic.
Just check out these letters to the editor from a Boston newspaper in 1946.
To the editor.
Why is it that Boston people have so much time?
As a New Yorker,
I find it very irritating to ride standing all the way up the escalator
because some stout Bostonian chooses to use it as a slow motion roller coaster.
Whoever wrote that letter is the kind of guy that makes me sick.
Escalators on stalls so that people who can not walk up
can get to the top of the stairs without killing themselves.
If the gentleman wants to run up, let him run up the stairs.
The original 1859 patent for revolving stairs
so they could be used for standing or walking,
but the first working prototypes were used as attractions at Coney Island and the World’s Fair.
They were rides that were meant to be ridden.
When the first commercial version was created in 1899,
it was called the escalator,
derived from the Latin word Scala meaning steps,
meaning they were meant to be stepped on.
What wasn’t up for debate was that
escalators were more convenient than stairs
and they were installed in department stores, hotels, and train stations.
Subway escalators can transport far more passengers than elevators
but needed to be long
to reach the deep subway stations
that doubled as air raid and fallout shelters during the Cold War.
Most of the world’s longest escalators are in former Soviet Republics.
As cities got more crowded,
people’s need to get up or down the escalator became more urgent
and the split became the norm.
But walking on an escalator is not the same as walking on stairs.
Escalator steps are wider and taller than stairs.
They also don’t have landings and are much steeper as a result.
Walking is the number one cause of injuries on escalators
for people under the age of 65.
You can see why then that the majority of people
would choose to stand on long escalators,
but an uneven weight distribution caused by standers
puts a tremendous strain on one side of the machine
increasing the risk of it breaking down.
Escalator breakdowns are no joke.
Overburdened and aging escalators are common
and can lead to horrific accidents.
As a result,
the US Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as escalator manufacturers
recommends standing in the center of the escalator .
and holding onto the handrail
But that would mean giving up something
critically important to commuters,
the right to choose.
Research has shown that commuters
experience more stress than fighter pilots and riot police.
That’s because people really want to feel in control of their movement.
We get angry when our autonomy gets taken away.
Think of road rage during rush hour.
The escalator split helps avoid that,
letting everyone choose how quickly they want to move.
But the split is wrong,
not just because it’s unsafe,
but because so much escalator space goes unused.
That’s because half of the escalator is reserved for a minority of people.
A walker takes up an average of three steps
while the stander takes up just one.
This leads to gridlock at the escalators entrance
and the longer the escalator,
the more pronounced the problem gets
because more people are going to choose to stand on the right.
But if people stood side by side on the escalator
it could fit more people.
More people riding the escalator
means less build up.
And it’s been proven to work.
Please stand on both sides these escalators.
In 2016, London’s Holborn Metro Station designated two of its escalators,
实施“只能站 不能走”规则 并试行半年
some of the transit systems longest, as standing only for six months.
The result, escalator capacity was increased by 30 percent
but this only works if everyone does it,
and that’s a hard sell for walkers.
The Holborn escalators naturally went back to the split
as soon as the trial was over.
“只能站 不能走”的规则 在东京同样失效
Tokyo also tried and failed to implement a standing only rule
despite a rigorous PSA campaign.
Why is it so hard to ditch the split for the common good.
Well, it isn’t so much a problem of changing individual behavior
but of changing a cultural norm.
Most Westerners prefer about a foot-and-a-half of personal space around them at all times.
Standing on an escalator doesn’t allow for that
and social pressure has a powerful influence on behavior.
Any tourist who has been screamed at
for standing on the wrong side of the escalator knows that.
“嘿 朋友 我这儿走着呢”
Whoa, buddy. I’m walking in here.
But this shame can work both ways.
Several South American cities have hired mascots
and mimes as crossing guards,
whose main job is to ridicule those who don’t obey the traffic laws.
They’ve reduced traffic fatalities by as much as 50 percent.
The social pressure of the split has led to its dominance.
So it might take a couple of martyrs or mimes
to take a stand on one side
and start the revolution.
I’m sure this video has gotten a rise out of you.
So let us know your thoughts.
Can we change escalator behavior
or are we absolutely insane for trying?
Comment below and like and subscribe
for more Cheddar deep dives and breakdowns,
and be sure to turn on notifications
这样 我们一有新视频发布 你立刻就会知道
so you know exactly when we’re dropping new videos.