Moving Stairs

I don’t know what it’s like in other major cities around the world (because I’ve never visited them), but compared to my life in Sydney there seem to be a lot of escalators in Bangkok. This wouldn’t normally be a problem but for the irritating habit many Bangkokians have of preparing to step on to them.

I don’t understand the idea that there could be a right or wrong time to step onto an escalator, but if my observations are correct there must be.

In my nearly three years in Bangkok, the number of times I’ve had to wait for someone in front of me to prepare themselves to step onto an escalator probably totals a whole day of my life. I can never get this day back.

Next time you are standing behind someone, waiting for them to be ready to step onto the escalator, consider the amount of your life that is wasting away thanks to their hesitation.

20 Comments so far

  1. Baba (unregistered) on April 1st, 2005 @ 2:27 pm

    I know what you mean… I’d never come across it before either… that little moment of hesitation. People also don’t seem to like getting off quick enough at the top. I’m surprised that concertina effects don’t happen more often.

    But being used to the SUPER disciplined London escalator users (unseen anywhere else in the world, coz it’s almost draconian… you dare stand on the wrong side and someone will shout at you!) It makes me feel uneasy how everyone stands on the right, left, in the middle etc… so if a) you’re in a rush, or b) like to keep fit, forget actually ‘walking’ up or down the escalators. A small gripe of mine ;)


  2. him (unregistered) on April 1st, 2005 @ 5:46 pm

    There isn’t anything like being stuck behind that moronic thai who gets to the bottom of the escalator and waits for his/her mates – who are still on the escalator.

    Except, they don’t move to one side. They stand there, in everyones way.


  3. Chad (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2005 @ 4:38 am

    I’m guessing the escalators are because no one likes trudging up stairs in the Bangkok heat/humidity. I’m also guessing that many of the people pausing before hopping on are women who don’t want to get their toe on the step, but not the separate heel of their shoe on the step — thus taking a reverse header.


  4. Rasee (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2005 @ 8:32 am

    Y’all are mean. Escalators scare me a little when I’m coming down them. I have to stop for a heartbeat and wait for a new step to emerge before I can step on it. I can’t go down an escalator without a hand on the railing. So it does take me a second to step onto an escalator at malls. It’s not like I’m doing it in purpose to keep all you other people from getting on with your lives. Goodness.


  5. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2005 @ 12:13 pm

    Just so that you know, it isn’t only women who do it.


  6. Denny (unregistered) on April 4th, 2005 @ 2:30 pm

    Wow, Rasee, take a pill girl! You should be careful – a chip that size on your shoulder might lead to making your walk more of a waddle!

    Anyhoo I got the feeling this was all aimed at Thais – not Europens, Africans, Americans, Australians… or Indians! A passport is not a state of mind!


  7. Rasee (unregistered) on April 4th, 2005 @ 10:30 pm

    I am Thai, thanks. (And the pills don’t help.)


  8. Peter (unregistered) on April 5th, 2005 @ 6:03 pm

    haha!
    I never got stuck behind one of these people, cuz I never look in front of me while on the escalator. I usually assume thatpeople are going to get off instantly.

    basically, I’ve bumped into a lot of people, unintentionally, who do not get off the escalator fast enough.


  9. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 5th, 2005 @ 6:30 pm

    I can understand Rasee’s irrational fear of escalators (since I have an irrational fear of large bodies of water) but maybe, if you know you’re afraid of them, you should get the lift or stairs instead?


  10. Baba (unregistered) on April 5th, 2005 @ 7:37 pm

    Now you’re going to be blamed for discrimination… careful!

    What would solve everything, so that fast and slow people can be happy together (harmony is key, y’know) is to have one side for standing and one side for walking. Those quick to step on the escalator go on the walking side. Those worried about their stiletto heels and/or fear of speed go on the standing side and take as long as they like. Now we just need some stiff upper lip Brits to implement this.


  11. him (unregistered) on April 6th, 2005 @ 11:00 pm

    I remember when I saw a tv show about the first escalator in Cambodia – a couple of years ago – and how they had people near it to help the Cambodians get used to it. Could be useful here… And while they are at it, let’s put some people by the BTS turnstiles because so many Thais seem to have no clue how they work!

    As for people who are scared, well, how about you get over it and stop being a pain for the rest of us – or use the stairs. People afriad of water don’t go swimming!


  12. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 2:44 am

    Ok, just to put this issue to bed, I mentioned this because there are a lot of escalators in Bangkok so the amount of times you can get caught behind someone are exponentially higher. I didn’t mention it to single out Thai people because they are certainly not the only ones in the world with bad escalator ettiquette (is there such a thing?), but we are talking about Bangkok here so they will tend to be the focus of practically everything on here.
    Aaand, so that you know, I think that I might be one of those people who stand on the wrong side and don’t allow others to pass (but not deliberately!) so I had better avoid England.
    I hope this settles the escalator issue. (phew!)


  13. Jib (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 12:41 pm

    Interesting facts about escalators:

    In Japan, they are discipline in using moving stairs as well. They stand on one side and walk on the other side. But which side to stand and walk is different by where you are–Kanto region or Kansai. Kanto = the east, e.g. Tokyo/Yogohama. Kansai = the west, e.g. Osaka/Kobe.

    My Jap friend told me that it’s because Kanto ppl and Kansai ppl try not to follow each other. Unfortunately, when I was there, I traveled back and forth Kanto/Kansai/Kanto.. so at the end.. with my forgetful brain, I cannot remember which side is the correct side at all. (^^”)


  14. him (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 12:57 pm

    In London, everyone knows that you stand on the right and leave the left free for people to walk – everyone knows this. But it doesn’t stop people standing next to each other and blocking the way (especially tourists and non-Londoners). There are even signs everywhere telling you what side to be on.

    Mind you, if they had signs here, they’d be ignored.

    Just like the “please switch off the mobile phone” advert in the cinema. Is there a single Thai that takes any notice of this whatsoever?


  15. Baba (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 3:50 pm

    I think some do, otherwise it would be a cacophony of ringing all the way through films. But there is always the obligatory person having a whispered telephone conversation during a film. That goes without saying ;)


  16. Denny (unregistered) on April 11th, 2005 @ 7:44 pm

    Hey did yall see Ben get masterful there? Good on ya mate but it just DIDNT WORK! I reckon this is a public forum and the public decide when something is put to bed – not you!


  17. Ben Harris (unregistered) on April 12th, 2005 @ 10:30 am

    I’m not sure I know how to be masterful, but if you guys want to keep talking about the irritating habits of people who use escalators, be my guest :)


  18. me (unregistered) on May 29th, 2005 @ 11:51 pm

    i am very scared of escalators and i can’t get on them at all.this actually causes a lot a problesm.i hav 2 use stairs everywhere.even though i live in Paris..oh well..can u ppl try 2 take my fear away?


  19. Ben Harris (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 5:30 pm

    Who would have thought that this would still be going!

    Can I ask, what makes your friendly neighbourhood escalator so scary?


  20. him (unregistered) on June 1st, 2005 @ 6:50 pm

    Could be… all the french people (!) – spoken like a TRUE brit hehehe :)



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