Why do people stand on the right on escalators in London?

It might seem like a simple and maybe even odd task, but you can fully expect someone to ask you to move to the right if they’re heading down an escalator. 

In a non-stop city like London, every day you’ll be met with someone using the escalator to walk up rather than the stairs as they quickly run out of breath.

While some are aware of the rule but like to be rule breakers, others are simply unaware of the golden rule of London are are left surprised when asked to move. 

But why do Londoners stand on the right side of the escalator? 

The real reason you stand on the right of escalators in London

The reason you’ll find people standing to the right and walkers to the left lies back in history. 

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Do you know why this golden rule is in place?Do you know why this golden rule is in place? (Image: Getty)

As the first successful escalator was put in place back in 1911 at Earl’s Court Station a diagonal partition was put in place to help direct travellers disembark on the left.

However, there was concern that walking passengers would clash with those standing on the escalator , so it was encouraged that those standing should do so on the right. 

That meant walkers didn’t have to battle standing people as they exited the escalator. 

So despite originating more than 100 years ago, sticking to the right has stuck and now become the golden rule of London.


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While there had been concerns that everyone standing to the right could create some issues with escalators. 

As China previously saw some escalators become uneven over time as more and more people stuck to the right. 

However, London escalators are said to be a bit more structurally supportive, so it’s going to take a while for an uneven escalator in the capital.

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