For as long as I can remember, the etiquette on escalators in DC and other metropolitan areas has been to stand on the right and walk on the left. It made sense to me. If I’m in a hurry to catch a train or get to work, I need to be able to pass those who choose to leisurely ride the moving stairs and get to where I’m going. The rule is similar to European driving regulations. You drive on the right and pass on the left. You do not leisurely mosey along in the left lane, with some impatient douche in an Audi riding up on your ass, flashing his high beams, trying to pass you. The douche may be road raging and unsafe, but you will be the one cited. Get the hell out of the way. The left lane is for passing.
This has always pissed me off after getting back to the United States. Rob will attest, I get insanely angry when some jackass blocks the left lane doing the speed limit or even slower. There are usually choice words used, and this is why I no longer drive often. No one needs a stroke.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a rush, running down the escalator, trying to catch a train with some clueless, jibbering tourists clogging up the left side, making me miss my train. Usually a terse “excuse me” is enough to make them move over. Sometimes it’s a lost cause. Why the hell should they take anyone else into consideration?
The unwritten rule is there for a reason. Those of us trying to catch a train home or to work, and who don’t have the time to leisurely gawp at the surrounding concrete walls of the Metro station, need to get where we’re going quickly, lest we miss our train and are forced to wait for the next time, which may or may not get there on time.
But now, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld says, “Nope! Don’t walk on the escalators.”
DAFUQ, you say?
The head of Washington’s Metro system said Wednesday that the custom of standing on the right side of a Metro escalator to clear the way for people to walk on the left damages escalators.
“We do not promote, obviously, the walking on the left. These are very sensitive pieces of equipment,” he said as officials unveiled a new escalator at the Bethesda station.
It’s best for escalators when riders stand on both sides of the steps, Wiedefeld said.
Ummmm. I’m sorry, but what? We are now supposed to alter our schedules and possibly miss our trains because you lazy fuckers can’t be bothered to properly maintain your escalators?
Yeah, how about no? Screw you!
China has implemented similar recommendations this year, also claiming that walking on the escalators damages machinery. Of course, one Chinese subway official proposed a very simple solution to the so-called “problem.”
A spokesman for the Beijing metro system was quoted as saying that proper maintenance could solve the problem of wear and people walking on the left posed no safety risk.
“Routine maintenance can keep escalators in a good condition and no accident happened before because someone was walking to the left,” the official said.
In other words, if you properly maintain your system, you shouldn’t have problems.
But apparently Mr. Wiedefeld and his crew have decided that further inconveniencing their customers is preferable to properly maintaining the machinery in the transit system. After all, screw you, if you have to be somewhere! Our escalators are more important than anywhere you have to be. It is wholly unsurprising that this lazy, incompetent band of shit weasels is vying to ensure their barely literate, ass goblin employees expend as little effort as possible to maintain the capital region’s transportation system! After all, this is the same agency that wants to cut service, while at the same time raising rates, and has been falsifying track inspection records for as long as three years! Oh, and let’s not forget their assery actually resulted in a fatality in 2015.
Yeah, I can totally see how WMATA deserves more money, while cutting service! /sarc
Unfortunately, the federal government incentivizes this nonsense by offering a transit benefit to federal employees. While it’s a great benefit to have, given that the Metro fares are among the highest in the country, it also allows Metro to continue its dysfunctional, negligent, sometimes fatal system with impunity, secure in the knowledge they are guaranteed at the very least 317,000 federal workers boarding their buses and trains every day. Because, why not? The government gives them this benefit, the roads are clogged on a daily basis, parking is barely available in the city, and what lots do exist, rape their customers to the tune of $25 per day. Meanwhile, taxi and Uber rates are insane during rush hour. I’ve paid anywhere from $25 to $30 for the 6-mile trip to or from work.
Metro knows it has a secure customer set in federal employees, so why would it bother doing anything but the bare minimum to improve the second largest public transportation system in the nation?
I was riding the Metro home the other night, when the driver made an announcement to the crowded train that he was delayed requested everyone essentially have their shit all ready and quickly get off the train, so he can make up time. So, because of continued Metro incompetence, the passengers had to hurry the hell up, since it’s their fault he was running off schedule in the first place. I mean, come on! If he didn’t have to stop every few minutes to pick up and drop you peons off, I’m sure he’d be running on time! /sarc
This is the same kind of attitude that precipitates the “you should stand on both sides of the escalator” request. Since they can’t be bothered to actually maintain the system properly and run their trains on time, the onus falls on you – the customer – to inconvenience yourself in order to make the Metro run smoothly. And while you’re inconveniencing yourself, you will pay more for an already substandard service to be even more substandard!
So I will continue to run up and down the escalators as I see fit to suit my needs, because I refuse to help Metro do as little as possible to fix its systemic issues. It’s a small part, but I will do it.