The Guardian has a feature today on TFL’s recent experiment of encouraging standing both sides on an up escalator at Holborn. Apparently this practice, common on Hong Kong’s MTR, can increase the effective capacity of ‘up’ escalators.
Indeed the experiment at Holborn meant that an escalator that carried 12,745 customers between 8.30 and 9.30am in a normal week, for example, carried 16,220 when it was designated standing only.
It turns out that on long up escalators few people actually walk up, so the left hand side is not normally well used. If people stand there instead of leaving it free, more people in total can be carried.
However persuading passengers to change habits of a lifetime proved more difficult, even with the (unsustainable) use of staff with loud-hailers and with plain-clothes “plants” being sent up the escalators to block the way for others.