Mild Dermatographia



I’m a pretty collectivist person. I’d like to see Universal Basic Income implemented. I’ll gladly pay more taxes for it to happen. I want public healthcare to be expanded to include dental and vision. I think we should be trying to rehabilitate people, not punish them, for committing crimes. I want public transportation to replace cars in Canada.

If there’s one place that I refuse to sacrifice my lifestyle for that of the collective, it’s escalators. They have so much potential to speed up moving around. Climb stairs while the stairs move as well? Sign me up! My fantasies of going from one elevation to a slightly different one are shattered every time I get close to one of these mechanical marvels, because PEOPLE. My beautiful acceleration apparatus is choked up with primates meandering onto them, then promptly forgetting how to use their legs, like there’s some kind of anti-motion field or short-lived glue on the steps. I get it, the 10 meter walk from the train platform to the escalator was difficult, no-one should have to suffer as you do!

Sarcasm aside, lets cover the counter-argument for standing instead of walking: according to this Slate piece, the throughput of an escalator is actually greater when standing. A bit of context for those in a country which doesn’t do this: hypothetically, people stand on the right side of the escalator, and walk on the left. This lets the walkers walk and the degenerates stand. I say hypothetically because that’s never what happens; people always block the entire escalator, impeding walking traffic and directly causing 96% of all aneurisms (also 46% of statistics are made up on the spot). Regardless, the article had this to say about walking and standing lanes:

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).

Fair point, half the space for a quarter of the people is not as efficient. But I propose an alternative to 100% of people standing to maximize throughput: 100% of people walk. When I take the stairs beside escalators, I generally make it to the top in about half the time people standing on the escalator do. That means we could hypothetically double the throughput compared to when everyone is standing! You know what? I’m not even the drain on our collective efficiency, it’s everyone who stands.

What about people who can’t take stairs? Virtually every mall or train station I’ve been to has elevators for this express purpose. After all, people in wheelchairs still need to get around (the neanderthals who take elevators when they could just take the stairs also draw my ire).

I believe I’ve presented a compelling rebuttal to the researchers at the University of Greenwich. To conclude, apes together strong, but apes moving together fast and efficient.

Please, Walk Down the Escalator