A conveying report for Cheddar explains how the commonly accepted international etiquette rule of “stand right, walk left” is not necessarily the most efficient way of riding an escalator. This practice puts undue weight on one side of the escalator leading to malfunction and increased exit congestion.
Additionally, escalators were not made for walking, as the steps are far taller and steeper than those on a staircase. The suggested method, instead, is standing in the center of the step. Cities that have implemented “no escalator walking” rules have found greater efficiency and reduced downtime. As seen with airline boarding, human habits are hard to change. Particularly when restrictions are put into place.
Overburdened and aging escalators are common and can lead to horrific accidents. As a result, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as escalator manufacturers, recommends standing in the center of the escalator and holding onto the handrail. But that would mean giving up something critically important to commuters the right to choose.