What grinds our gears: Escalator etiquette-breakers

Illustration by Hannah Zaitlin

Written by: Trevor Roberts, Peak Associate

Escalators. They’re loud, they’re expensive, and if they’re in a SkyTrain station they break down all the time. But they’re not that hard to use. There is one rule to using an escalator: stand on the right, walk on the left.

As simple as this should be, I’m stuck behind too many people each day who think they’re “exceptions.” Apparently, people need some clarity about how this fairly intuitive rule always applies.

First, stay to the right if you really want to stand. If you’re choosing to take up an entire escalator step when you don’t actually need to, then you should’ve taken the stairs so that you wouldn’t hold up the rest of us.

Second, If you are walking with a friend, or God forbid a group, line up along the right if you want to stand. Whenever I see a couple standing side by side on the escalator at Waterfront Station, I secretly make a wish that they have to go through a messy breakup and can never inconvenience anyone ever again.

Last, and most importantly, under no circumstance should you ever stand with a bag or suitcase on the same step as you. We know you’re some fancy, jet-setting VIP with a lot of important things at hand, but please keep out of the way. People have places to go.

Most of this should be just common courtesy. Our ancestors had no choice but the stairs for literally thousands of years, so don’t just take escalators for granted. Use them with respect for those around you, and I’m sure we’ll all get along just fine.