Public Interest Courtesy Rule #12

escalator.jpgWhen they first appear new technologies can be an incredible and awe-inspiring addition to our lives and we often wonder how we ever lived without them. This ‘honeymoon period’ of discovery is normal for anything exciting and new which enriches our lives.

However for some people and under certain circumstances this adulation never seems to wear off. Instead of efficiently using the technology for its intended purpose, these people take every opportunity to enjoy ‘the ride’. This phenomena is often observed when people interact with that most wondrous of technologies known as escalators, travelators or moving stairs.

Escalators are inherently practical and are intended to offer the user a quicker way of reaching a pre-determined destination. While these devices have been in existence and in use for quite some time now, some are seemingly struck dumb by the wonder that is moving stairs. These people are known to settle in for their short journey often in a way which blocks all those other escalator users behind them.

Please remember that while escalators are provided for human convenience, they are not intended to be rides on which to loiter and therefore prevent other people from moving at their desired pace. If you would rather enjoy the ride, all that is required of you is to move to the side and therefore allow the free passage of people past you.

Also please note that while some escalators allow for the transport of shopping trolleys and strollers, not all are designed for this purpose. Guidelines for the recommended use of your chosen escalator are normally clearly displayed and in following them you will help ensure that your escalator experience will be a safe one.

For those that are frustrated in their efforts to get by other people blocking their passage on escalators, while your pain is noted, do not stand too close to other people or breathe down their necks. This will not encourage them to move out of your way, and may in fact have the opposite effect and delay you even further.

The best recommendation for the appropriate use of escalators is to remember that they are not designed as a free ride. However if you choose to use them as such be sure to keep to the side so that other people who are not there for the ride can easily continue on their way.


  1. Bean

    People who don’t stand to the side when loitering on escalators would do well to remember it can be a long way down 😉

  2. Lee

    Hey I thought you were going to mention the best line ever in a Kevin Smith film – “that damn kid is back on the escalator!”

  3. Tracey

    Hi Bean – Absolutely…I’m pretty sure they’d get the message about getting out of the way pretty quickly!!! With the enjoyment that some people seem to derive from riding escalators there is no need to go to actual amusement parks…the local shopping centre will do and it’s cheaper.. 😉

    Hi Lee – Yeah I know, I just couldn’t get it to work in the post…and I knew some intrepid blogger like yourself would bring it up anyway…

  4. apos

    Yes I learned pretty quickly that standing behind them and yelling “move yer fooking arse” in their ear doesn’t help a lot either. But occasionally it feels good to yell it.

  5. Navilyn

    Tracey, Tracey, Tracey! You’ve done it again, by hitting the nail on the head. I rememeber every morning running for the tube to get to work. Only to find myself getting to the escalator with people standing on BOTH sides, and not on the right like the ‘guard’ has repeatedly told them too…

    And, not to mention if I decided to stand and wait for the escalator to take me to the top, some idiot was breathing down my neck. Why?

    Again, am happy this just does not bother me, but other people, too. For years I use to think I was strange – LOL!

  6. jan

    I thought I was just being crotchety to be bothered by people invading my space on the escalator and blocking my progress.

  7. Midwesterner in NYC

    This is a HUGE problem in Manhattan. This is how you tell a tourist from someone who lives here. Nothing makes me more mad, New Yorkers like to move fast…………..

  8. apos

    thumb up yer bum via BlogMad 🙂

  9. Tisha

    Wonderful humor Tracey! In Belgium people are rather “civilized” when it come to riding on escalators, everyone stand to the right and lets others walk up on the left if they wish. Boring huh?

  10. Tracey

    Hi Apos – Very valid point you raise there. There is certainly something to be said for releasing frustration vocally on occasion…and sure it can leave us feeling a little better, but often doesn’t have the desired effect. People just don’t seem all that clued into body language or verbal threats anymore! What’s with that??? 😉

    Hi Navilyn – Thanks so much! This is most definitely one of my biggest pet peeves…I don’t really mind if people feel the need to loiter and take a bit longer in their travels…I just don’t want them to ‘stand in my way’. And it so often happens when you’re in a hurry!! Hey I used to think I was strange…but then I thought oh well…it’s amazing to discover so many other like-minded people in the world – we need to unite against all those people that just ‘don’t get it’.

    Hi Jan – I most certainly would never say that about you Jan! We are all just very mindful of personal space, it is one of the last remaining things we all own which doesn’t cost us any money…the world is crazy enough in my opinion without getting all in eachother’s faces.

    Hi Midwesterner – Well when there are places to go and people to see you just don’t want people getting in your way – and you can tell that it irritates me too. You can always pick the outsiders…they just don’t seem to have that innate understanding of acceptable social practices in those everyday situations.

    Hi Tisha – Lovely lady! That sounds like heaven to me Tisha…people being polite and respecting the passage of other people…you’re making me jealous!! 😉

  11. kelley

    The WORST is when people stand still on the moving ramps (or what do you call those horizontal “escalator” things?) in airports. That one drives me insane. They are not there to give you a break from walking, they are there so you can walk twice as fast! I can’t believe that people fail to understand it.

  12. Edward Mills

    Tracey, I agree with you 100%, but you’ll have a hard time convincing my 3 1/2 yo daughter that escalators are for anything other than fun!!!

  13. Tracey

    Hi Kelley – I KNOW!! I have to agree with you there. Why don’t people understand that they are there to make things quicker…not to slow us down. Just another one of the free rides people take advantage of!!

    Hi Edward – Children are so sweet and innocent I wouldn’t expect them to worry about all these social niceties…the whole world is a playground for them!!

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