Escalator Ettiquette: Stand to the Right!

cc Donna GraysonC’mon, subway travellers, or anyone else who uses busy escalators. Take a cue from New York, London, or any other modern city, and if you must stand while riding on an escalator, please keep to the right so that anyone can swiftly walk past you on the left.

I know other cities have signs posted around that ask for people to do just that (“stand to the right”), so I can’t expect this to be common sense. Not totally anyway. Afterall, this is a city where people don’t think twice about strolling three people wide (or more) on sidewalks (and by strolling, I mean walking at a snails pace), or, worse yet, don’t pull their cars over to allow firetrucks pass.

More on topic, though, I wouldn’t think we’d need signs for the following, but, clearly, we do:

  • On subway trains and elevators, wait for people to exit before getting on!
  • After you step off an elevator, don’t just stand their – get out of the frickin’ way!

By the way, is it legal to carry a cattle prod?

…photo by Donna Grayson, used under Creative Commons

22 thoughts on “Escalator Ettiquette: Stand to the Right!”

  1. More people who probably don’t pull out into the intersection when turning left.

    Maybe we should pass a law making it a requirement that all Americans live in NYC for at least 6 months. After a few times of being pushed to the ground and told to “get the f*ck outta my way” everyone will gain a certain understanding as to how their stupidity impacts those of us nearby.

  2. THANK YOU! This drives me nuts. Los Angeles is the worst city when it comes to transit etiquette. I’m the guy shouting at the bottom of the escalator, “Stand on the right, pass on the left” to no effect. Maybe some signage would help, or maybe we’re doomed.

  3. I’ll be honest, I never knew about the elevator etiquette until I visited NYC back in December.

    And I absolutely despise those who take up all the walking room on sidewalks, chatting away with their friends walking at an insanely slow speed. I’m a quick walker so I usually have to pass them by walking on the streets and cutting in front or finding a hole and squeezing by.

  4. The UK has had more practice on queing on an escalator, but they also post signs all along the ride….”stay right” which helps as a friendly reminder to let those in a rush get by.
    Elevator etiquette sucks no matter where you are. Someday everyone will figure it out let those getting off first makes for a much smoother ride for everyone.

  5. AMEN, brother, amen! As a daily transit rider, it infuriates me to no end the people who a) stand directly in front of the doors of the train when you’re trying to exit – guess what, morons? If I can’t get off, you can’t get on, and b) insist upon standing next to their pals on the escalator so they can talk, seemingly oblivious to those behind them trying to walk up/down the steps. I agree that some signage, a la that in the DC Metro, would help some with the escalator issue. Nothing will help, or change, the idiots who won’t let you exit the train.

  6. Six months in New York? I think one week in Tokyo would do the trick for valuable lessons in escalator, cell phone, and subway etiquette.

    Actually, compared to when the Red line first opened, people are much better about standing to the right, particularly during rush hour. These types of things are unspoken international standards, and LA will catch on eventually.

  7. i personally can’t get out of the subway elevators fast enough, since most of them reek of urine.

  8. Preach it reverend Markland!

    One particular pavement peev of mine (No. 1754) is people walking in my direction on sidewalks who pass too close to me even if there’s a ton of room for them to give way. Usually I’ll be the one to torque the shoulder or arm out of the way that they would have otherwise hit, but a couple nights ago on 7th crossing Olive heading between the Blue Line and the No. 2 bus I saw a collision about to happen with a guy on a cellphone heading right for my left shoulder and this time I just looked the other way, leaned in a bit and the impact spun the fucker around with his phone dropping to the asphalt… talk about a dropped call. I just turned with a shrug and mimed “oopsy!” but my laughter kinda gave it away that I wasn’t very sorry.

  9. In Tokyo, it’s proper to stand to the left–following the flow of street and sidewalk traffic. But in Osaka, the gentleman or lady would stand to the right on an escalator. One story goes that during a bid for the Olympic Games, the citizens (or maybe government) of Osaka decided that by standing to the right, they’d make their city more familiar to the foreign Olympic visitor.

    Maybe here in LA, the way to get people to stand to the right would be to have a PA system installed into every escalator with Beyonce’s voice singing: “To the right, to the right.” At the very least, the making of would be on Access Hollywood.

  10. I’ve noticed a pattern where people don’t always stand on the right, but will stand in an alternating formation…still leaving space for those to walk up/down in a zig zag way. I’ll admit to standing on the left sometimes, but leaving space for folks to walk through (though I’m usually the one walking through).

    Standing side to side and blocking the way is obnoxious anywhere, whether on an escalator or in a hallway or sidewalk.

  11. the related elevator rule:

    if you’re waiting to get ON an elevator, don’t wait directly in front of the damn doors. stand the hell back!

  12. Since the majority of Angelenos apparently don’t realize that the left lane is the passing lane while driving, and that requires a license, why should we expect any less on an escalator?

  13. Since the majority of Angelenos apparently don’t realize that the left lane is the passing lane while driving…

    Slow drivers in the fast lane — definitely my biggest driving peeve.

    Dipshits driving Interstate 5 between LA and Frisco who don’t seem to understand the concept of “slower traffic must yield to the right”.

    Screw better gas mileage…my next car’s gonna have laser beams.

    Yup….definitely laser beams.

  14. Ummm… Tom – here in LA we take GREAT pride in calling it “Frisco”. We love the fact that it pisses ’em off, it’s quite funny. All’s fair in love and war… as they say.

    Yeah, I generalized. Intentionally.

    Will – that’s funny – the guy who dropped his phone probably never had a clue why that happened.

  15. My favorite elevator mantra is “Out before in!” I like to chant that when folks are trying to get on the damn elevator before I can get out.

  16. I saw a new move in assholish mom behavior yesterday…a doublewide stroller…yes, the lady had two kids, instead of putting them in a normal width stroller with the stacked approach, she had them in a stroller built so the little monsters could sit next to each other. And she was using this monstrosity as a weapon in the aisles of Trader Joes. Now as is the aisles aren’t small enough, now we have this woman pushing this bulldozer of a stroller through the place.

    Do Los Angeles moms get some sort of pamphlet about how they are now the end all and be all of the universe and they no longer have to behave like reasonable human beings? I’ve lived in 4 countries and 10 states and I swear that the moms in LA are the most obnoxious creatures on the planet.


  17. As a life long Angeleno who later moved to SF for awhile, I feel qualified to comment on the “Frisco” discussion above.

    I never, ever, called it Frisco growing up in LA. Never called it Frisco when I moved there either. And I don’t recall sitting around LA with others who called it Frisco just to piss em off. Know why? Because they just weren’t big enough fish to go after.

    I leave the sitting-around-shit-talking to the NorCalers who always seemed far more interested in attacking Angelenos for no good reason.

  18. I lived in Oakland for 15 years before moving to Los Angeles in 1998. So yes, I’m quite familiar with Herb Caen and his legions of Friscophobes.

    Frankly, I always found the “controversy” to be somewhat amusing. Seems to me that San Franciscans have more pressing matters to concern them with.

Comments are closed.