Nowadays, the fast and frantic pace of the big city leads us to make decisions that have consequences in our daily lives. Something as simple as accessing the subway escalators can be one of the reasons we are late for work or delay a vital meeting. The collapse of underground transportation at peak times is one of the reasons why our activities take longer than expected and, although it may seem a joke, it is not at all.
The system of circulating on the left as a way of passage on the escalators and staying still on the right side, is not as effective as it appeared to be. This is demonstrated by some studies carried out in London subway stations.
One study indicates that we are doing it wrong
According to a study carried out by the transport consortium in London in November 2015, this system, which we have been using since the first constructions of the famous Underground, no longer works. Although perhaps we should think if it has ever really been effective.
After a three-week trial period at the London station in Holborn, it was concluded that to remain without mobility on both sides of the walkway, both left and right, was more effective to avoid abuses and collapse among passengers than to leave The left side at the mercy of the lighter ones. A study that has an important impact on our day to day. Being a participant in crowds in public places generates panic, stress and general malaise.
Three weeks quiet on both sides
During the three-week study, passengers at Holborn Station, close to places such as the British Museum and the Covent Garden tourist area, were invited to remain static on both sides of the escalators during peak hours of major transit. The results yielded very interesting conclusions. On the one hand, the movement of passengers improved, and on the other hand, and more surprisingly, people came out and entered the escalators in an orderly manner, without hurry and without uncomfortable queues or agglomerations.
The reason is simple: many of those hastened to climb the hundreds of stairs that draw some of the London subway stations, repent halfway. By standing still on the side that is supposed to be to advance, they create real human caps and, at peak times, in which the movement is incessant, can become a tragedy and even cause more than one accident.
In 2002 Holborn station was again the scene of a study in which it was concluded that almost half of the passengers refused to move along the 23 meters of steeply inclined stairs.
A questionable code of conduct
The British capital has the oldest and largest metro in the world. A large number of users are transiting annually through their 403 kilometers of underground tunnels. The number of people who make use of such practical and comfortable means of transport in the English capital is no less than 1,300 million people annually. Due to this vortex of human beings, different forms are sought that give an alternative to make it as easy and efficient as possible.
The code of behavior in the United Kingdom at the time of using the escalators, which has been extended and exported to other European cities like Paris or Madrid, among other capitals, is to remain static on the right side of the stairs while the Left side is free for all those who want to advance and climb on foot. Here is the problem.
What happens if we decide to just get carried away by the machine?
Then, the tail of the right side will be endless, leaving the left channel with almost no use, destined to that minority of passengers who want to accelerate the passage and to advance. Consequently, resources are not used optimally and the larger the ladder, the more energy waste is produced. In the subject of London Underground the lengths reach figures out of the normal.
The stations of Waterloo and Angel have 23 and 60 meters of stairway, respectively. In addition, the underground of the British capital does not present many stairs of normal use as an option to the escalators, which occupy a very important percentage of the underground space.
Why an experiment of this caliber?
The experiment was inspired by the holiday season in Hong Kong by Len Lau, responsible for public transport in the area of the city of Vauxhall. This city, which has underground lines even more complex than the British, is a great decongestant of people who, while they move through the subterranean passages, do not travel the outer city. Access to shopping malls, shops and offices is done underground because most avenues and streets do not have pedestrian sidewalks. When Chinese citizen Len Lau realized that using both the left and right side of the escalator was a guarantee of faster and safer traffic, he proposed setting the measure in the British capital.
The accidents in the meter and, in particular, in its escalators, are very frequent in all the parts of the world. For this reason, it is advisable to take into account some recommendations, as well as if you go only as an accompaniment:
- Before ascending an escalator, locate the emergency pushbuttons and the indications to act in time, before the unfortunate accident can occur.
- Avoid walking or running hastily between the steps. It is better that both feet are placed in a single step and the look always in front.
- Leave a reasonable space between the person in front of you and the one behind you. If there is a sudden fall, you will have time and, above all, space to react.
- Hang on to the railing or handrail. Keep your eyes on the front and be aware of when the journey ends so as not to fall into the mistake of tripping you in the last section. Also, make sure you do not wear loose shoelaces and can get hooked with some edge, corner or gear.
- Never use escalators in an emergency.
- Many are the falls that occur at the end of the escalator. The technique is to separate the feet and take a step forward, very broad, to reach the metal bar.
What about children?
If you are traveling with children the indications are even more specific:
- You should never carry your baby's car through the electric stairs, so you have two alternatives. The first (and most uncomfortable) is to carry on with the car and with your baby. The second (more comfortable and convenient) is to take the elevator. If you are lucky enough to ride in an elevator of the Astarlifts house you will enjoy a unique, light, safe and completely silent experience.
- If your child is small in size, you better hold him or her in your arms to avoid risk. In the event that the small reaches the handrail, you must place it in the center of the step and prevent it from moving until the end of the route.
- A common mistake is to let children play on escalators without paying attention to the risks involved. You should not let your child sit or play on the escalator.
- Both the children and the elderly must be held by the hand when climbing or descending the escalators.
- In the event that your little one or you wear long trousers, the low ones should not touch the ground because the fabric could be caught with some gear and cause the dreaded accident.
- Children's sandals or flip-flops are not the best friends of these elevators, so if your child is wearing them, you'd better go by elevator, and if it's the Astarlifts house, the better.
- Do not let your child play up the stairs in reverse. This is a very common game between children and some older that can cause more of a displeasure. Respect the security strip.
- Do not let your child sit on the step because at the end of the journey, your clothing can get trapped between the gears.
- The most prudent thing is that when you travel with your child, teach him to go up and down safely, following a system and only when he has learned, let him go up.
If you carry a pet with you, take her in her arms, she does not understand rules and you never know what can happen.
The bottom line is that we get better results if we sit on either side of the escalators until we reach our destination. As you can see, the use of escalators is a whole network of safety concepts that you should keep in mind if you want to be on time.