Stand On The Right… And On The Left

Photo by Emile Hussell

Photo by Emile Hussell

Not content with messing with the minds of Londoners by making them stand on both sides of the escalator at Holborn last November, Transport for London (TfL) has decided to extend its experiment for a further six months.

Standing on the right is such a basic tenet of travel in London that most of us are incapable of standing on the left, even on escalators in other countries. Plus it gives us a reason to be passive aggressive towards tourists.

But TfL decided to rip a great big hole in the time-space continuum and make people stand on BOTH sides in an attempt to reduce congestion at the bottom of the escalators. According to research detailed in the Guardian, the escalators are more than 23m high, so many people don’t walk up the left-hand side, creating a bottleneck. The escalator can cope with 81.25 people walking on the left, but 112.5 if they stand on the left instead.

Unfortunately, when the trial restarted on Monday, Londoners basically said ‘fuck that shit’ and refused to comply with instructions to stand, not walk, on the left. Just look at the resigned expression of the TfL employee at the bottom of the escalator in this video from the Independent.

God knows what will happen if TfL decides to roll this out across London. Probably the world will end.

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