lifestyle

Tokyo taking a stand on walking up and down escalators

20 Comments
By SoraNews24

Like many countries, Japan has an unwritten rule that those who are willing to ride an escalator by standing still should keep to one side, while people in a rush who want to climb the moving steps are allowed access on the other side.

This is a rather mysterious custom that some say began during the 1970 Osaka Expo, but no one knows for sure. Interestingly enough, different parts of the country have come to designate either the left or the right for standing, making it really easy to spot tourists.

But now, the Tokyo Metropolitan Physical Therapy Association and Japan Elevator Association want to put an end to all of this, citing safety and inefficiency as major flaws in the system.

By putting up posters in Tokyo’s Nerima Station this summer they have tried to raise awareness to the benefits of standing on both sides of an escalator.

escala.jpg

While the posters highlight the dangers of walking on escalators and the nuisance it can cause by hitting people you walk past, these groups are hoping people will appreciate that standing actually makes more people get to the top faster than the current method.

They cite London’s Holborn Station Experiment in which escalators where made to be standing only on both sides so that passenger flow could be analyzed. As a result they found that about 30 percent more people could pass through when people stood on both sides compared to having only standing people on one side.

On the surface it makes sense, by putting the majority of standing escalator riders to one side, a lot of valuable space is wasted. However, these results depend on various factors such as the size of the escalator and flow of people. In cases of shorter escalators, standing both sides can turn out to be less efficient.

Also, even though everyone is getting to the top faster when standing on both sides, those who either want or need to get to the top faster to catch a train, get to a restroom, or whatnot are greatly slowed down. This means that the people who benefit from this efficiency aren’t necessarily the ones who are looking for it.

During the Nerima Station campaign, passengers were asked how they felt about standing on both sides of an escalator, with greatly mixed responses. Those opposed to it tended to frequent busier stations while those in favor of it tended to have elderly or physically challenged family members.

esca2.jpg

This brings us to the most important motivation for this campaign and the reason standing on both sides should be mandatory everywhere. Some people can’t easily stand on one side only due to injuries or paralysis from strokes, Parkinson’s disease or a variety of other reasons. Being forced to stand on a side that requires them to use the affected parts of their body while other people constantly brush past them can turn a simple ride into a stressful nightmare.

This is sure to be a problem when the 2020 Paralympics comes to Tokyo, and with it a wide range of differently abled people hoping to get around in relative peace.So, if you want to help, get out there and be that “jerk” who blocks the walking lane on your local escalator. In doing so you can combine the fun of anti-social behavior with the joy of helping improve accessibility in your community!

Especially in Japan, where train schedules can be brutally precise, it’s hard not to sympathize for people who are in a hurry at stations. But for those people, stairs are usually available and a great way to get a quick work-out. Meanwhile, those who can’t take advantage of the free exercise can still get to where they’re going a little faster and much more comfortably, and then everyone wins.

Sources: Norimono News, Londonist

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japanese escalator cleaning crew discovers an absurd amount of change

-- Spiral escalators may be even more stylish than clothes at Japanese department store in Shanghai

-- Taiwanese subway’s anime mascot wants you to mind your manners, watch out for the Hamburglar

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Campaigns like this arise from knee-jerk reactions by desk jockeys with nothing better to do to make themselves look productive.

Don't fix what isn't broken.

Just be sure stand where you should stand and walk up where you should walk and don't block the upward flow with kids, bags, whatever.

Easy peasy... ohhh..right...Japan.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Stand on the right, walk on the left. We're not all tourists and some of us like to walk up the escalator - it's quicker and it's easier to avoid the numpties who stand still the moment they step off.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This brings us to the most important motivation for this campaign and the reason standing on both sides should be mandatory everywhere. Some people can’t easily stand on one side only due to injuries or paralysis from strokes, Parkinson’s disease or a variety of other reasons. 

What absolute rubbish. If someone can't stand to the side because of health reasons, no one with a shred of social consciousness expects them to.

And if they had such a condition, they wouldn't be able to stand to the side to make the cram-them-in-standing-side-by-side model possible.

It's pretty obvious that some busy-body in the government doesn't like the image of people passing on an escalator and so they're just inventing reasons to say it's bad.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Nonsense. I like being able to walk or stand on the escalator depending on my mood or circumstances. Most people prefer it this way anyway.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

This is sure to be a problem when the 2020 Paralympics 

Tokyo is going to be a problem when the 2020 Paralympics occurs. Wheelchair athletes will discover the lack of easily accessible elevators at most train stations, the lack of ramps on sidewalk crossings, the crowds of people who will push past them, knocking them about etc.

Barrier free is in katakana because Japan didn’t have the concept of helping disabled people get around until the last decade or so. Wheelchaired passengers needed to call ahead several hours in order to get on a train and two station employees had to lift them up and on.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What is this instruction to stand BETWEEN the yellow lines? You would have to have feet millimetres wide to stand OUTSIDE them!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan is so far ahead in many ways as a first world nation but yet so far behind in what is common and expected in a first world nation. I just don't understand how Japan as a nation can continue with this 'shoganai' mindset and keep letting the politicians and nanny state desk jockeys keep moving in a direction which doesn't improve Japan's mobility, health and way of life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Some damn bureaucratic rule maker running amok.

Whilst I appreciate the sentiment towards people with disabilities I think there are a number of countries where disabled access/ facilities are way ahead of Japan and that would be a good start to go look for ideas. Can,t think of any country that has a "standing only, no walking" rule for escalators. Anybody been to one?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I think this issue is only important in places where there is a very heavy use of the escalators. In places (and countries) that are less crowded, the issue becomes moot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stand on the right, walk on the left.

for me its stand on the left walk on the right. Who is the tourist??

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Shane

for me its stand on the left walk on the right. Who is the tourist??

It depends on where in Japan. Not everyone is based in Kanto.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Just an excuse to make more rules! There need to be more rules about making rules!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Just an excuse to make more rules! There need to be more rules about making rules!

Well put ! I whole heartedly agree.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People walk so slowly in Tokyo it would drive me nuts to have to stand on an escalator if that's the nearest entrance/exit. I don't think it should be changed but if anything escalators should be all walking and if they want more rules, go harder on able bodied people who block up the lifts from physically disadvantaged people and parents with young children.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If you want to fix something, start by fixing all the constantly out of service escalators that are littered all over Japan.

Perhaps people would choose to walk up or down escalators is Japanese people would actually walk at a normal pace up/down the adjacent stairs. Not to mention it's very common whenever a train lets off passengers, and they access the stairs, they don't keep to the designated arrowed side for up or down. They take up the full width of the stairwell, thus leaving those coming in the other direction to smash their way thru or have to take the escalator.

It's Japanese behavior that's the problem.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As a result they found that about 30 percent more people could pass through when people stood on both sides compared to having only standing people on one side.

If you're someone who walks up quickly, a double-file escalator will slow you down.

The rule should be: "leave space on one side wherever you stand". This should apply to escalators, shops, sidewalls, and--most especially--Costco on the weekend. I can't believe the dolts who leave their Costco cart parked next to a cart totally blocking the aisle. It's common courtesy. I bet Costco would up their sales with slightly narrower carts for better flow.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In JR Kawasaki station, there are a set of long escalators with signs everywhere asking people to not walk, but rather stand on both sides. I've never, ever seen anyone obey these signs. Not once.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

for me its stand on the left walk on the right. Who is the tourist??

You would be in Kansai, and the UK.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Symbols on escalators should indicate small children should hold hands with an adult while the adult holds onto the escalator railing.  Children should also make sure shoes are tied before approaching the escalator.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't really understand why they are trying to fix something that isn't broken. Everyone seems to be happy with the way things are and the only people it will benefit are people who don't really care about it. People who are in a rush will not be happy with this at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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