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Escalator etiquette: The do's and don'ts

23 May 2016

In the UK, where Apex Lifts is proud to be London’s largest lift and escalator manufacturing and servicing company, escalators are everywhere. And if there’s any nation around the globe that’s going to implement a well-respected etiquette system aboard escalators, it’s Britain. Here are our golden rules when travelling by the safest mode of transport in the world: 


Always face forward and hold the handrail 

Let’s start with the basics. Facing backwards or moving around a lot could cause you to lose your focus and fall, especially if you haven’t got one hand on the handrail at all times, so always try to stay looking forward. Losing your balance on a moving escalator could cause injury, not just to yourself but to others around you.

Step on and off with caution

Being careful when stepping on and off an escalator is crucial to every traveller’s safety. Be sure to leave enough room when exiting the escalator for the passenger behind you to get off with ease and remember… timing is everything! Not watching the steps properly could cause you to trip or slip.

Be aware of the emergency stop button

If an issue on an escalator occurs, such as you or somebody else sustaining an injury or a person getting some clothing stuck between the steps, remember that an emergency stop button will never be far away. This will cause the escalator to come to an abrupt halt, allowing yourself or another passenger to seek help in whatever way is needed and allowing the remainder of the riders to walk up or down the escalator safely.

Stand on the right

Widely known and appreciated in the UK is the custom of standing on the right, which allows those who wish to walk up and down the escalators to pass by seamlessly on the left hand side. This system works perfectly nearly all of the time and is ideal for those running late to be able to sprint and catch their train without tumbling over groups of fellow passengers. Bags should also be kept as far to the right as possible, to prevent walkers from encountering any potential trip hazards.



Use canes, crutches, prams, or wheelchairs

Physically challenged riders with pushchairs should never use an escalator and instead use a lift if possible. For wheelchairs and prams, there will most likely not be enough space on a single step to accommodate for their size, and passengers with canes or crutches may find it harder to hold onto the rail and maintain their balance.

Play on the escalator

Playing around and moving too much on an escalator could distract and endanger you and fellow riders. Young children should always be accompanied by an adult and encouraged to stay still on hold onto the handrail.

Transport large, long or heavy items

If you must carry a big and cumbersome object whilst travelling, make sure to use a lift to deliver your item across a building. Transporting it onto an escalator will restrict you from focusing on staying safe, may cause you to lose your balance and may come into contact with other passengers.