Holborn Commuters Made To Stand On The Right AND The Left

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 32 months ago
Holborn Commuters Made To Stand On The Right AND The Left
Photo by Sean Batten in the Londonist Flickr pool

There were scenes of confusion and mass mutiny at Holborn tube station today, as two members of TfL staff wielding loudspeakers requested that commuters stand on the right AND ON THE LEFT of escalators.

The move — which flouts well-worn commuter convention — is part of a three-week experiment at the central London tube station, to work out whether, if people stand still on the moving staircases at peak times, they actually get out of the station quicker.

Teaching a commuter new tricks, however, is not easy, and reports from Twitter suggest not all is going according to plan:

We wish TfL good luck over the next 20 or so days.

Last Updated 25 November 2015

Continued below.


They haven't thought through the implications of what they're doing. It won't end well. It hasn't even started well.

Lindsey Berthoud


Matthew Ames

Interesting. There are a number of stations around the capital where the queue to stand on the right is so long that it impedes those that try to get to the left to walk up. This in turn means that it is possible for someone already at the foot of the escalator to make it to the top on the right, before a lefty can even make it to the foot of the stairs. By making everyone stand, it stands to reason that it will clear the queues at the bottom, getting people out faster.

I think it's certainly worth a try to see how things go, especially as I am seeing more and more people who 1) are new to london and don't understand the rules, and 2) don't want a free workout before they get to the office.

Becca Pullenayegum

I saw this yesterday - I thought it was some kind of social experiment, seeing if Londoners will break The Code because an authority figure tells you to. It didn't work, nobody stood on the left nor did anyone walk.

James Guppy

What next? Drive on whatever side of the road and in whatever direction you please? How will I feel superior to tourists now? Don't TFL care?!


I simply won't stand for it.

Greg Tingey

Another case where the mathematical predictions of "Ideal behaviour" run up against REAL PEOPLE.
The word to describe this is, err ... STUPID


Why not just WALK on both sides of the escalator?