Holborn Tube to trial standing-only escalators for six months prompting fears of 'utter chaos'

During the first experiment in November, TfL said queing was reduced and 30 per cent more people used the escalators

Samuel Osborne
Friday 11 March 2016 10:51
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Commuters make their way on the escalator at Angel underground station, which is 27.4m long. Escalators at Holborn are 23.4m long
Commuters make their way on the escalator at Angel underground station, which is 27.4m long. Escalators at Holborn are 23.4m long

Holborn Tube station will trial its standing-only escalators for another six months, Transport for London (TfL) has announced.

From 18 April one of four escalators at Holborn Station will always be standing only.

Two escalators will be standing-only at some times of the day, while one will allow walking at all times.

Extra staff will direct commuters to stand on both sides of the escalator.

Stand on the left hand side? Never

During an initial three-week experiment in November, TfL said queuing was reduced and 30 per cent more people used the escalators.

People tend to stand when escalators have a height off over 18.5m, TfL research found.

At stations with long escalators, fewer customers choose to walk, meaning the left-hand side of the escalator remains unused.

The trial found 16,220 people could travel on Holborn's 23.4m escalators during rush hour if they were standing-only, compared to 12,745 on the split walking and standing escalators.

One commuter described November's trial as "utter chaos".

Peter McNaught, London Underground operations director, said: “It may not seem right that you can go quicker by standing still, but our experiments at Holborn have proved that it can be true.

“This new pilot will help us find out if we can influence customers to stand on both sides in the long term, using just signage and information.

“Anyone who wants to walk on the other escalators will be free to do so, but we hope that with record numbers using the Tube, customers will enjoy being part of this experiment to find the most efficient ways of getting around.”

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