Zohar wrote:The whole idea of an escalator is for people not to have to walk up/down stairs on their own. If you're not into that, use the emergency stairs.
The main place I encounter escalators is in airports, and I feel like usually there aren't stairs available as alternatives, or at least not without having to really search for them.
When there are
stairs right beside the escalator, I typically take them, at least if it looks like someone is blocking the escalator. (I don't think of myself as having social anxiety, but somehow asking people to move out of the way just isn't part of my behavioral repertoire.) My body is not at its peak in terms of fitness--I'm in my late thirties, have a job that does not involve any physical labor, have never been interested in sports, and am not at all inclined to exercise for exercise's sake--but I'm not so out of shape that the simple act of walking, even up stairs, constitutes a large enough inconvenience to be worth spending any amount of time to avoid. I'll take whichever available option looks fastest.
Incidentally, it seems kind of perverse that a staircase would be faster than an escalator. Consuming all that electricity just to slow down
people's trips seems like a waste.
Zohar wrote:it's how people use this that matters, not what people designed it to do.
How people use escalators is a mishmash. Some people stand, seeing the escalator as an opportunity to make progress (albeit very slow progress) toward their destination without having to expend the energy of putting one foot in front of the other. Some people walk, seeing the escalator as a helpful convenience that makes them less likely to miss their flight. Most of the standers stay to one side so as not to obstruct the walkers, but some of them don't and create traffic jams instead.
Isn't the more interesting question how people should
use escalators? Currently there are signs saying "walk to the left, stand to the right" and "hand carts take elevator", but we could change those signs: e.g. to "no standing! handicapped persons take elevator. violators will be amputated" or "no walking! stand on both sides of escalator. always check with your doctor before attempting self-locomotion".