It has come to our attention that some trolls and anarchists have been spreading false information about urban transportation efficiency—right when people need the truth the most. We are here to assure you that is always right to walk down an escalator.
Slate, a website which has an editorial policy of always saying the reverse of things that are obviously true, has published a piece today that—while I am not privy to the internal workings of Slate’s editing process—I can only assume is a spiteful attempt to cause safety hazards in the New York City subway system just before a weekend snowstorm. Is this “ethical?” Take it up with the experts, friend.
What I do know is that the headline of this piece, “Don’t Walk on Escalators. It’s Faster if Everyone Stands,” is the journalistic equivalent of shouting “Keep sleeping!” to a sleeping baby—when the house is on fire, and the baby should wake up. Simply irresponsible and in wanton disregard of human decency. As this very website has clearly explained in the past, if you are not physically injured for some reason, you should always walk down the escalator, because some of us would like to actually catch the next train that is arriving, rather than stand on an escalator smiling like a dullard while our train pulls out of the station just below us. Despite the fact that walking down escalators is plainly the polite thing to do, Slate would have you believe that some statistical mumbo-jumbo should make you think that something that is true is not true. Specifically:
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. And people tend to create more following distance on the walking side of the escalator versus the standing side. Transport for London’s simulations preliminarily showed that using a whole Holborn station escalator for standing would allow 31.25 more people per minute to board the escalator (112.5 people on the escalator per minute versus 81.25 people per minute with a walking lane).
From this, they argue that everyone should stand on the escalator because everyone standing on the escalator allows more total people per minute to ride the escalator.
Here is the point that Slate dully misses: I don’t care about total people per minute riding the escalator. I care about me and the other people who need to get where we’re going. We are going to walk on the escalator. Why? Because it is faster to walk down an escalator than to stand on it as it carries you down. (Try it and see.)
The fact that any able-bodied adult has chosen of their own free will to stand, not walk, on a down escalator proves that they don’t give a shit how fast they get where they are going. They are slow. They are not the concern of those of us who need to get where we’re going. If us walking down the escalator in order to get where we’re going in a timely manner causes the standers on the other side of the escalator to proceed more slowly, so what? They’re not in a hurry anyhow. They can fucking wait. Their time has no value—they demonstrated that the moment they chose not to walk down the escalator.
Once again, the troll haven Slate.com has demonstrated that it cares little for the comfort and security of New York residents, just as the site did when it rudely beat us at softball. Not to overwhelm the juvenile minds at Slate, but I will end this fact-based essay by noting that in their rush to instruct the public that “Everyone should stand on escalators” because it is allegedly faster that “Some people walk and some people stand on escalators,” there was one possibility that was left unexplored...
Everybody walk on escalators. (If you can’t then take the elevator, or a fireman’s pole.)