A poster for the escalator "Riding Reform" campaign is seen at Tokyo Station on Monday.
national

Campaign encourages commuters to stand still in two lines on escalators

70 Comments

Fifty-two railway companies and several commercial facilities across Japan on Monday began a campaign to promote safety while riding escalators.

The initiative, coined “Escalator Riding Reform,” is requesting people to stand still in two lines on escalators in order to prevent accidents and be mindful of the elderly and those with physical disabilities.

It is common in many cities for people to form a line on the left side of escalators while the other side is for those who want to rush up or down.

However, in recent years, there have been many incidents of people losing their balance and knocking others over, as well as accidents involving commuters running up and down the escalators, who snag handbags or bump into luggage as they pass people standing still. There are also dangers for those with disabilities or injuries, who need crutches or walking canes. For example, a person whose body is disabled on their left side would need to stand on the right side of an escalator if they want to hold on to the handrail.

Given these circumstances, the 52 nationwide railway operators, commercial facilities, Mori Building, Haneda Airport, Narita Airport, Japan Private Railroad Association, Japan Elevator Association, Saitama Prefecture, Kawasaki City, and Chiba City have started the escalator safety campaign.

By putting up posters, display advertisements, and even distributing pocket tissues with the “Riding Reform” initiative, the participants hope to raise awareness to the safety benefits of standing still on both sides of the escalator.

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70 Comments
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I watched a clip about this on NHK last night. Station staff were going up and down escalators wearing sandwich boards telling people not to walk on escalators. People were walking past them.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

screw this idea it's too slow

10 ( +23 / -13 )

Sod that. I've got places to go. This is guaranteed to generate more of the REAL problem, namely people gawping at their smartphones in crowded places.

A problem, incidentally, which is not solved by putting up posters saying don't look at your phone while walking. The people who need to see the posters are looking at their phones. Waste of time.

13 ( +21 / -8 )

Awesome! I will now start standing on the right side! It may prevent people from walking up or down, but Japan says I can do it now!!

0 ( +12 / -12 )

This is a dumb idea. What if I'm in a hurry? Many stations only have an escalator.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Yeah, sod the elderly and those with physical disabilities, I gotta be somewhere 10 seconds sooner!

-6 ( +13 / -19 )

how about the elderly and people with physical disabilities use elevators? wouldn't that be more practical than slowing down all the people in a rush?

-1 ( +14 / -15 )

nakanoguy

how about the elderly and people with physical disabilities use elevators? wouldn't that be more practical than slowing down all the people in a rush?

We do when available and also young mothers with prams. No one during the Olympics better think they're in a rush.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

nakanoguy01

Pretty discriminatory, don’t you think? Why don’t those in a rush leave earlier?

-1 ( +15 / -16 )

The nanny state.

It's a lot more convenient and faster to be able to walk up one side. Most people don't mind this custom

If someone has oversized luggage or something most people oblige the person and wait since it can't be helped.

Sorry, but I'm walking up if I want to.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Yeah, sod the elderly and those with physical disabilities, I gotta be somewhere 10 seconds sooner!

This has nothing to do with that. The elderly and disabled can keep to the left like they do now or take an elevator.

12 ( +18 / -6 )

So many references of accidents happening from walking on the right yet I have never heard of such things happening and if there was a major incident you can bet they'd be pushing the story to gain sympathy for the campaign.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Just remove the escalators altogether, then. Let people who need it take an elevator. If the station doesn't have one, that's on the company to build it. I don't see the station staff worrying about people walking up and down the stairs, which are far more dangerous than walking up/down an escalator.

If someone has a disability, fine, but if not and they are standing in my way, I have zero problem saying excuse me or shouting "JAMA!" if need be. No one is going to follow this silly rule

8 ( +17 / -9 )

Just not going to work due to human nature.

Unless all escalators have stairs right beside it this probably won't work.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

darknuts

This has nothing to do with that. The elderly and disabled can keep to the left like they do now or take an elevator.

Let's go to the video tape;

There are also dangers for those with disabilities or injuries, who need crutches or walking canes. For example, a person whose body is disabled on their left side would need to stand on the right side of an escalator if they want to hold on to the handrail.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Tons of research done worldwide showing significant improvement (safety / speed / comfort etc) for the riders as a whole. Individuals may well shave seconds off.

Interesting link -

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-39206856

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Nope, not gonna stand and wait, especially here in Osaka, stations like Umeda or Shinsaibashi, Namba, if people don't walk up all the people will be stuck on the platform so this won't work. Make more escalators and elevators. Now that I walk with a stroller I notice a huge lack of elevators at especially big stations.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

stand still in two lines on escalators

That's not gonna work for two reasons, most everyone is always in a hurry and nobody wants to stand right next to anyone else on the escalator except for the couples. Regrettable but true.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Let's go to the video tape;

There are also dangers for those with disabilities or injuries, who need crutches or walking canes. For example, a person whose body is disabled on their left side would need to stand on the right side of an escalator if they want to hold on to the handra

And how many people exactly would fit that description? I have yet to see a single one in my 16 years here. Youre making something out of nothing.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

They tried an experiment with this in London a few years ago to speed up the numbers using escalators (counter-intuitively if both sides stand then overall more passengers can travel). The experiment was ended because it was totally ignored.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

I think it's a little bit different that the new and correct custom will prevail within the Kansai region. The Kansai people are very fast walking folks.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

And how many people exactly would fit that description? I have yet to see a single one in my 16 years here.

People with disabilities or injuries who need crutches or walking canes? Um, a lot? And if you are referring to one very specific example, sure, but just because you've never seen one, doesn't mean they don't exist. What about someone with their left arm in a sling, as mine was recently?

Anyway, research suggests it's faster for all if people stand on both sides.

https://slate.com/technology/2016/01/standing-on-escalators-faster-than-walking-according-to-transport-for-london-trial.html

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Yeah, I'll be ignoring this.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Sounds like a distraction story to get everyone's minds off the fact that the Olympics are coming on fast, most stations in Tokyo are a nightmare to navigate let alone find escalators that go from bottom to top without hitting a floor with no escalator, and the lack of space for renting, because they killed AirBnB on purpose.

This is a distraction from real issues.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

how about the elderly and people with physical disabilities use elevators? wouldn't that be more practical than slowing down all the people in a rush?

Sorry, I'll just remain indoors forever in order not to inconvenience all of ye in a rush.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

But I only got exactly 54 seconds to rush up one escalator, sprint down the hallway and down another escalator to make my train connection!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

hahahahahaha!! Suckers!

I love not needing to ride the train every day!

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

It is common in many cities for people to form a line on the left side of escalators while the other side is for those who want to rush up or down.

In Osaka we walk on the left but in nearby Kyoto it's the opposite so I don't think which side is so important. If stairs are nearby I usually use them but when there are no stairs and the escalator is long it's convenient to walk on the escalator. I don't expect others to make room for me to get by though. If there's space then I go for it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

JR East did the same campaign last year. It was mostly unnoticed and did not change anything.

it will be the same this year.

During my commuting , not much time to loose so I make sure to get out first from the train to get first in the escalators and walk up fast

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Like that will ever happen! There are too many a-holes that have to run to catch a train that comes every three minutes. How about a campaign to stop old ladies stopping at the top or bottom of an escalator while people domino behind them?

10 ( +12 / -2 )

It is common in many cities for people to form a line on the left side of escalators while the other side is for those who want to rush up or down.

Right side in Kansai.

Still, I will be defiant of this movement they are trying to create. The old system works fine for me. Especially since my train never runs on time, sometimes I need that escalator boost to help me make that transfer.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Tokyo monorail station at Hamamatsucho, escalators move faster than ordinary ones and I do not find people walking on the escalators.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Good luck in Osaka.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

If ever a campaign was due to fail in Japan it would be this one. Imagine any station on the Chuo line at 8am and you can see why it wouldn't work. Just imagine the metro sub. lines at Shibuya, Shinjuku... they're already so packed you have to stand a minute or two just to get in the walking lane during rush hour.

Literally no.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Oh please, Japan is a rushed nation and I like zooming by the slowpokes anyways

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Wow, I'm surprised they managed to do it without cute little bunnies and kitties on the poster...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It is very strange for me to see people not to fill up both sides of the escalators but I understand this is because of the slow speed settings.

After a visit to HongKong you will find the escalators here (even in Osaka) so slow. I know the idea of keeping the escalators on a slow speed is to prevent claims from people who don't know how to deal with speed, but hey people adapt or just let the fast folks walk up.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Escalator is old technology.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

I understand the sentiments behind this campaign, but I have to say it’s all getting a bit much.

Just walking through the local station building is becoming impossible with all the elderly waddling back and forth. I can’t get around any if them, despite the fact that I am walking 3 times as fast. And on the odd chance that I finally do manage, then there’s another one right in front of them. It’s like a game of bumper cars, except that you have to dodge instead of bump, because if you touch one, you know they’re going to break a hip.

I feel bad for them, but hey, I gotta get places. They’re generally just window shopping.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Anyway, research suggests it's faster for all if people stand on both sides.

> https://slate.com/technology/2016/01/standing-on-escalators-faster-than-walking-according-to-transport-for-london-trial.html

After reading the article, standing on both sides is only more efficient if the users are generally lazy people, less healthy or elderly. The average Westerner in the UK or US are overweight, so they will stand rather than walk up the escalator. Hell, some would rather ride those little seated scooters than walk. That might explain their results because it was in the UK.

Research from the University of Greenwich in 2011 indicated that on average about 75 percent of people will stand on escalators while the other 25 percent walk. Right away you can see how reserving half of an escalator’s real estate for only one-quarter of the people who use it might not make sense. 

Yeah, I don't think those numbers would be the same in a country with overpopulated cities, healthier people, and faster "pace of life".

You go through a busy train station in Tokyo, and I think a lot more than 25 percent of the commuters are walking on the right side of the escalator.

It also depends on the speed of the escalator, length of the escalator, transferring or exiting the station, and transporting heavy items or not.

Therefore, if the number of right side walkers are close to 50% then it would be more efficient to let them walk up the escalator.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Yeah I remember when Tokyo Midtown was newly opened and there were like waves of people wanting to go there but from the Oedo line you need to use quite a few of escalators to go up. They had staff at the bottom of every single one telling the people to stand in both lines because too many people were waiting...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Sorry, I'll just remain indoors forever in order not to inconvenience all of ye in a rush.

Har! Gave you a thumbs-up for that one, Toasted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sometimes we are in a hurry to catch a train. Not every line is like the Yamanote with a train every couple of minutes. For example, if you want to take the Keiyo Line from Tokyo to somewhere on in Chiba, it takes a good 10 minutes walking from any other line in Tokyo Station. Most of that is on escalators or a mvoning walkway. Maybe it will now take 15 minutes.

Many people rush to catch a special express. If you are one minute late for that, you could arrive one hour later at your destination. People often have a good reason to walk or even run on an escalator.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I am not a pedestrian transit expert but I bet the escalators can transport significantly more people by doubling the standing load.

For short escalators this might be irrelevent but for long ones I have no doubt.

Late people will always be late anyway.

I support this initiative.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

It's nuts... and dangerous, we will eventually see overcrowded platforms, with people being pushed onto the tracks or simply unable to get off the trains. Trains will be announcing that they cant stop at stations due to platform overcrowding...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

In Japan, We are trying to get people to stand still in two lines on escalators in order to prevent accidents and be mindful of the elderly and those with physical disabilities.

It's not often I agree with @alwaysspeakingwisdom, but in this case he is absolutely right. Standing on both sides of the escalator shows courtesy and respect. It is safer for everyone and actually increases speed overall. I wish these train companies the best of luck with this campaign.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

In Japan, We are trying to get people to stand still in two lines on escalators in order to prevent accidents and be mindful of the elderly and those with physical disabilities.

It's not often I agree with @alwaysspeakingwisdom, but in this case he is absolutely right. Standing on both sides of the escalator shows courtesy and respect. It is safer for everyone and actually increases speed overall. I wish these train companies the best of luck with this campaign.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Now for airports and the like with specially wide elevators to accommodate the push trolleys, I can understand this rule...

But if I have to queue up 2 x 2 and the person in front drops a stinky one... things are going to turn to panic, pandemonium will likely lead to way more casualties than in years of single-file + walk past.

Running down escalators can lead to accidents, though I have never seen or heard of ones when you're walking up. Plus, it's likely to be the only significant part of the days exercise that people get.... unless Companies are forced to bring back the morning gate-yard exercise routines!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Escalators were designed to help us get up and down stairs faster, not to be lazy and stand.

One change I’d like to see is young, healthy people staying off of elevators. They’re for the disabled, elderly, and people with young children. Yet I regularly see people in their 20s to 40s queuing up for a lift when there’s an escalator nearby.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sourpuss you've got to be joking me, if not, it's still just as funny.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Escalator is old technology.

@Akie -so is the wheel. What is your point exactly?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Akie

Escalator is old technology.

So is the computer, yet here you are every day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is stupid. It's one of those little things I love about Japan and the first thing I notice when I get back home. As soon as I get off the plane in the US, I have to go up an escalator and people are standing all over it and I just want to get past them to get my bags and go home.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They always push social agendas with distorted studies so folks don't object to changes they really know don't work

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What a stupid initiative... just like people had no brain to see the situation and to adapt. Many station do not have escalators, and others have only escalators. People walk or stand according to the time of the day and their needs. It there is a person that can not walk, people wait behind, as it has always happened. To hell with those few that stumble and fall or hit others... that can happen also on the street, caused by phone reading people, bicycles, etc. And for that they do not ask people to stand still on the pedestrian or not to commute. Let people live and regulate themselves by themselves instead of always leading everybody by the leash like dogs!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

50 kph escalators would help. Crank up the speed

4 ( +5 / -1 )

50 kph escalators would help. Crank up the speed

Add some padding at the top and I think you're on to something here...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Slow people are the danger to get an accident, not the fast ones.

And exits (escalators or stairs) must adapt to number of persons flowing, not the over way around, as for public safety management.

On crowded escalators with enough access from sides, If you count, far more people go pass on the walking side because physically and mathematically, void will attract someone which go faster than the lazy person.

Problem happens when TOO many are lazy and above all, access to stairs or escalators is limited.

Enlarge platforms by removing all useless obstacles, especially selling areas or vending machines in some places !

For instance in subways of Paris, width of platform has a minimal distance, I can't remember ever having that much difficulty to reach stairs compare to quite a few places in Japan

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nanny state, much? Lots of escalators in japan are ridiculously slow. This is only a good idea if the escalators are sped up.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is common in many cities for people to form a line on the left side of escalators while the other side is for those who want to rush up or down.

How about those that want to walk up or down?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is fully about all those old fits who decide to leave for somewhere in the middle of rush hour.

I don't support this at all, but hey hopefully in 20 years they'll all be gone, stop complaining about all this trollop and people can move on with their lives on a faster escalator

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The fact that the people of Japan abide by this rule that standers stand on one side of the escalators leaving room for people to walk by on the other side was actually one of the best and most orderly things I'd ever seen the first time i landed in Japan. I love it! I cant help but think this initiative is also to prepare the people of Japan for the olympics, as they will have to suffer foreigners standing side by side on escalators and not politely standing to one side to let people through. It is a daily frustration i have in Sydney stations and shopping centres after having spent time in Japan hah.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What annoys me is that people form a standing line despite there being regular stairs right next to the escalator. An example of this is the underground of Hankyu Umeda Station. Because they only use one side, there's always a line just to get onto the escalator, so I end up walking up the stairs simply because I don't want to wait to get on the darn thing. To be honest though, I usually avoid the crowded underground to begin with so it's a rare occurrence for me.

Most of my daily frustration has to do more with regular stairs - when old and/or slow people insist on being the first one off the train and onto the stairwell, only to turn into a snail on the first step.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

We Japanese are too inept at functioning on such a basic level. Cue lines for escalators. If you want to walk up them, use the stairs.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

there have been many incidents of people losing their balance and knocking others over, as well as accidents involving commuters running up and down the escalators, who snag handbags or bump into luggage

How do they define "a lot"? I have never seen this. And it is not something that is not already covered by common sense, instead of more stupid artificial rules.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh come on, now they're even telling people how to go up and down the stairs... Like we're all a bunch of kids.

On the contrary, this pervasive control just makes you even more unable to think with your head and evaluate right or wrong (but maybe that's just what they want).

I understand some inconsiderate people might bump into others, but I don't see any big problems in Japan or in the rest of the world due to this.

Isn't it just another way for the government to subjugate people and tell them what to do at all times of their lives?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Stations with escalators usually have lifts too.

Other cities manage the one side standing, one side walking model on escalators, in fact I can see more accidents as people rushing for a train will try to get past those standing on both sides.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

People move about so slowly in Tokyo. Move up a pace or move out of my way!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

However, making a long line for the standing side though nobody is on the walking side seems stupid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This ‘problem’ is exacerbated by the fact that Japan has the slowest escalators in the developed world.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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