Stand or Walk?

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Standing in New York 271In New York recently I was musing how nobody seemed to walk on escalators and whether it was a cultural thing if you stand or walk? I’m an impatient person and also I reckon I could always do with some more exercise, so I will almost always walk. If there’s the option. In many places people thoughtless (my opinion!) block the escalator so we walkers can’t do our thing.

◄ Standing on New York escalators



I life part of the year in London where in fact not a very high proportion of people walk, but in the Underground (the subway system) you absolutely must not block the escalators. Standers stand to the right. Walkers walk on the left. It’s a London thing and standing on the left (and blocking walkers) will instantly brand you as an uninformed out-of-towner and will quickly result in a request to ‘move over.’

This month’s High Life, the British Airways inflight magazine has an article about how fast life moves in different cities (how quickly does Starbucks produce a coffee for example) including whether you walk or stand. The results:

Always stand – Rio (well lying on the beach is what life is all about, no carioca is going to walk when they don’t need to), Los Angeles (no surprise there), Dubai (definitely stand, that’s even less of a surprise), Tokyo (there is a surprise).

London Underground 542

▲ Stand on the right, walk on the left on London Underground escalators

Often walk – New York (45% walk or even run High Life reports, didn’t seem that way to me), London (generally in a hurry, but not always to my observations), Shanghai (50% during rush hours)