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Escalators: Left/Right in your country?

Travel Forums Off Topic Escalators: Left/Right in your country?

1. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 7y

Just out of curiosity, which side do most people in your country take on an up-riding/down-riding escalator? Left, right, or a total mess?

And would you ask a person to give way if he/she is blocking the clear passage?

2. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 7y

We stand on the right, walk on the left, generally. The people who block the left are usually sighed at or squeezed passed--but they deserve it!

3. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 894 posts) 7y

The escalator thing is a good question. As a Canadian, we are well trained in the "Walk Left/Stand Right" ethos. But that ain't the way in much of the world. I was just in Greece, and they stand right in the middle on even the biggest escalator so no one gets past.

I say "excuse me" and go past as a rule. Even if I don't feel like it, as an object lesson. I know it's not my place, but it's a pet peeve of mine. I do this, unless there are like 75 people in a line blocking the route. Then discretion becomes the better part of valour. Truthfully, every place is different, and it's a cultural thing and none of my business. In the back of my head, if I were to look at it though, the reason it irks me is that they are forcing their will onto my own. I'm not allowed to move because they aren't moving.

My very favourite escalator phenomenon, though, happens in Latin America. I sometimes stop to watch this. In Latin America, from the second they step on to the moving stairs, they freeze. Not one step from bottom to top or vice versa. They don't move until they are literally forced off by the end of the ride. Young, old, ill or healthy. They never move. They really take their escalators seriously. I almost always walk up them, and love to watch the queer looks I get for having the temerity to move under my own power on an escalator.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Apr-2009, at 09:19 by Piecar ]

4. Posted by spongehead (Full Member 119 posts) 7y

That's a great response from Piecar!

I surmise that this 'escalator behaviour' is a reflection of societal norms.

In some countries such as Japan, people instinctively stand on one side while clearing a path for those in a hurry. I think it's because the Japanese do not want to impose any trouble for others in public (I'd need a native Japanese to verify this). In other parts of the world where Piecar mentioned, standing stiff in the middle of the escalator may actually be a societal norm and isn't necessarily a rude act.

This reminds me of a gag on TV some years ago (I forgot if it's Candid Camera or Just For Laughs). The scene starts with a group of people in an elevator/lift with their back facing the door. When an unsuspecting person enters, he has to make a decision: face the door alone, or follow what the crowd's doing!

It's really interesting that escalators offer a peek into another culture!

Edited in the 7th line ('again' to 'ago').

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Apr-2009, at 19:56 by spongehead ]

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

This reminds me of a gag on TV some years ago (I forgot if it's Candid Camera or Just For Laughs). The scene starts with a group of people in an elevator/lift with their back facing the door. When an unsuspecting person enters, he has to make a decision: face the door alone, or follow what the crowd's doing!

Candid Camera and Just For Laughs are North American, right? Because in Europe you do not turn to face the door in a lift, you stand any way you pretty damn please. (No need to arrange your body like a chicken on its stand.) If you are chatting with a collegue it is not unusual to stand with your back to the door.