Escalator etiquette

“Stand on the right” is the mantra for users of the London Underground. It’s a simple rule which helps to alleviate the maul that ensues as passengers make their way from the depths of the earth up into the polluted daylight (or vice versa).

The sheer capacity of people in London means that standing, even momentarily, on the left of a moving escalator – meets with vocal disapproval, particularly from those who wish to climb or descend on the left.

It is for this reason Londoners become quickly indoctrinated with a subconscious urge to stand on the right (or walk on the left) of any given moving escalator, be it in London or elsewhere.

Having spent over ten years in London, nowadays when I find myself upon an escalator, I try to make a conscious decision to stand on the left, or in the middle, or a even fluid combination of the two. In short, a position-gait-posture combination that lets me physically express myself, and not feel like the docile laboratory rodent I was in London. It’s an immensely liberating feeling…

…much like moving to France.


  1. Next you’ll be waving banners in the street, campaigning for a republican revolution in England (or at least a publican evolution in most lager-fuelled theme bars) and complaining vocally (as opposed to under your breath like the rest of us).

    Matt 🙂

  2. Yes … or maybe just a public transport strategy that actually works, and is halfway pleasant to use.

    Let’s barricade the streets and throw cobblestones at the police! That will make a difference – won’t it?

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