Escalator Etiquette 101

The Escalator is Your Friend

It's another exciting day at the mall. Maybe you are doing a little shopping or you are hanging out with friends. You need to go down to the next level. What do you do? You could take the stairs, but who'd want to use those? You could take the elevator if you can find one. You'd better use the escalator.

First, please remember, the escalator is your friend. You put both feet on one step and it takes you to the next level. It can achieve this task in a very short period of time. Escalators are really helpful. Embrace it!

A Very Simple Concept

The down escalator goes down.  The up escalator goes up.  I am not going to repeat myself on this one.  I shouldn't have to even say this the first time, but according to what I've seen, I guess I do.  I am not going to spend anymore time on this topic.

Look Before You Leap

I know sometimes we all get excited and want to run on the escalator.  Sure, you are just coasting along, but you want to get to Dairy Queen to get that new Blizzard as soon as possible.  Haven't we all been there?  You need to just calm down and wait.  If there are people in front of you, no one wants to be knocked over as you run down the escalator.  That is rude and dangerous.  Maybe you work at the mall and you are running late.  I know how that is.  Yet still, you cannot just knock people over to run down the escalator.  What if you bump into a future customer?  Do you think that person is going to be pleasant to you when he or she walks through the door at your store after you've just elbowed them on the escalator?  Probably not. 

Control Your Kids

I know I am about to enter into a touchy subject here: children. No one wants to be told how to take care of their children, yet, apparently many people need to be told just this. Trust me when I say the escalator can be dangerous for kids. You don't want little Johnny jumping all over the place and getting his shoe caught, do you? I've seen it happen. It's not pretty. You need to teach a child to stand correctly on the escalator.

Since we are on the topic of children, if you have a baby and that baby is in a stroller - DO NOT USE THE ESCALATOR!!! What is wrong with you? Do you want me to call child protective services? Look for the elevator and use it! It is so unsafe to use a stroller on the escalator, which is why there are so many signs around every escalator saying, "No strollers." It is very easy to slip and let go of the stroller. If the baby is in the stroller, bye bye baby. Something tells me you don't want that. Taking your baby out of the stroller first is a little better, but you could still easier let go of the stroller and once it starts rolling, look out. The only thing worse than a person knocking you out the way on an escalator is an inanimate object. Strollers are simply unsafe on an escalator. I know it must be a nuisance looking for an elevator everytime, but think of all the other annoying aspects of parenthood and that is probably the least of your problems.


Keep it Safe

The most important lesson in riding the escalator is getting off the escalator. You need a great finish, right? Please remember that just because you step off the escalator and you are no longer moving, does not mean the escalator is no longer moving. There are other people on the escalator. When you step off, kindly move along your way. You see, if you get off and stand there, I am going to run into you because I need space to step off the escalator, as well. You see how that works?  Just remember to keep it moving and we can all be safe and happy riding the escalator.

I hope this has been another helpful etiquette lesson for you. Probably not, but if you just sat and read this whole hub, it must not have been too bad. See you next time!

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Comments 13 comments

Ike 5 years ago

This is a pretty good summation of escalator etiquette, but... It seems to be missing one internationally renown rule, that could (at least help to) clear up the "Look Before You Leap" issue. That rule is: Stand on the right, walk on the left. This rule isn't necessarily a big deal in a shopping mall, but it can be a huge deal in places like airports and subways. Oh, and the link in the URL section is for a Washington Post poll on how to handle violations to this rule.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

This is very true. I do think sometimes people can be... ummm... a little too big to give others enough room to pass them though. Or maybe my shopping mall just needs to make wider escalators. Thanks for the input!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Another gem, fortunately I don't think we have any escalators here in the Channel Island of Guernsey, but I do encounter them when I visit the UK mainland. I am still freaked out by them to a point, as I always seem to get catapulted off the end of them, and getting on to them I always seem to have to wait, wait, wait, and then take a leap in the hope I am well on the step and not in danger of toppling off again. Escalators remind me of a tame version of chair lifts on the ski slopes, they freak me out in the same way because they don't stop for you, they keep going whether you are on properly or not!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thank you for your comment. I am glad you mentioned this. It reminded me of something I forgot add to the hub. I need to add another paragraph about properly stepping off the escalator.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 5 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

You are welcome Jeannieinabottle, nice added paragraph, another one I did find annoying, the person in my way at the bottom usually gets me catapulting into them because they don't move away from the end of the escalator.


Jeanastra 5 years ago

I have to agree with IKE. Being a city dweller, it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people don't get the f*ck out of my way when I want to walk up the escalator on the left. And before anyone attacks me for that, I DO use stairs whenever possible.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Hi Jeanastra! Don't worry... no one will attack you. Sometimes I can't find the stairs at the mall, so I have to use the escalator. I don't mind so much people walking on the escalator. It is the running part that makes me nervous. Especially when people bump you. Thanks for reading my hub and the comment!


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

My main concern with riding on an escalator is flatulance. I am truly disturbed by the idea of someone's hind-parts nearly in my face. I always wait after someone has stepped on and allow what I think is sufficient space for the any air draft to carry away what could happen. I also don't like when people get too close to me, we are not together...back-up!


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Hehehe. Thank you for this comment. I had not thought of that one. I hope I don't run into that problem any time.


What Is Q profile image

What Is Q 5 years ago from Tennessee

I figured out escalators on my own, but if I had read this hub first, then I wouldn't have spent 3 hours walking up the down escalator and wondering when the bloody stairs were going to end. But I do want to try running down the escalator and shoving people off the sides. I've seen that in movies and it looks like fun. Not nice, but fun. Someone has to be chasing me, though, to make it that more interesting. Great hub and great information that a lot of people need to get through their heads.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

Thanks for the comment. If I ever see you running on the escalator at my mall I will think, "Hey, look at that guy. Looks like someone is chasing him. He looks just like an Andrew."


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

I find the biggest problem is people who are deep in conversation not realizing that they have come to a stop at the top of an up moving escalator, or at the bottom of a down moving escalator. They end up blocking all of the subsequent people who are ascending/descending.

One item I should note, being a heavy user of long escalators in public transit from Montreal's deep metro system is that, in the same way we keep right, people who want to 'ride' the escalator should keep right, allowing the left side for people who want to walk up the escalator. Depending on my mood I'll do either, but I know where to stand - not everyone does.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD Author

I have heard a number of people say that is etiquette in certain areas. Just stand to the side and let people walk past you. In many areas, the escalator just isn't wide enough to manage that. I wish we had wider escalators around here! Thanks for the comment!

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