According to a recent New York Times article, studies found that if everyone stood on the escalator in pairs, the average riding time would decrease for all riders. Although this sounds counterintuitive, the study said that standing rather than walking on escalators would relieve congestion on escalators by approximately 30 percent. A University of Greenwich study claimed that approximately 75 percent of people stand on escalators, while the remaining 25 percent walk on them. Should a walking lane — which amounts to half of the escalator’s space — be reserved when 75 percent of users would not be using it? The studies raised good points about having people only stand rather than walk, but in all honesty, self-interest will always come first for people — escalator etiquette will never change.
These studies are clearly trying to prove why people should stand on escalators, but if we were truly honest with ourselves, we’d admit that people don’t really care whether their travel method will benefit the greater good of escalator-commuting. When people rush to catch a train or run to arrive at an event on time, the priority is not how much space people waste while running up the escalators. Rather, they worry how they might miss the train if they don’t rush. People will continue to walk and run on escalators no matter how many studies come out, because there is simply no way that in one of the most crowded cities, the MTA will force its millions of daily users to stand next to each another on escalators during rush hour.
Although the study proves that standing is a better choice, the only thing that really matters to people is individual gain. If running lets us reach our destinations faster, then we’re going to run. At the end of the day, we should not act based on what will decrease the average travel time for all commuters but on what will improve our own commute.
Regardless of how much we learn about escalator efficiency,New Yorkers and NYU students alike will in no way start thinking about putting other commuters before themselves. In addition, doing so would cause college students to worry about running late to class or events that require taking public transportation and only add to all the other problems college students face. Running up an escalator does in fact make people go faster, despite what the studies claim.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, April 10 print edition.
Email Adryan Barlia at [email protected]