Hold Up! There Is A New Rule On The London Underground?

Lucy Bloxham Lucy Bloxham


Forget everything you think you know, folks. It’s all been a lie, a LIE we tell you! What is the one rule each and every one of us adheres to on the tube? The one rule that raises our blood pressure to vein-throbbing levels when broken? The one rule that forms the fundamental basis of our love/hate relationship with the city’s tourists? Yep – ‘stand on the right’. STAND ON THE RIGHT. It rings in our ears like the sound of Gandalf’s ‘YOUUU SHALL NOT PAASSSS’…except that you can pass when people stand on the right…Well, ‘hold up’ indeed. London Underground staff have attempted to ease congestion at Holborn by making an escalator at the station “standing only”…on both sides.


Transport chiefs unveiled the pilot scheme at Holborn on Wednesday in a bid to help the flow of commuters through the station. If introduced permanently (it is in only in place for the next 3 weeks for now), the rule would end the well-established (decades-old) etiquette whereby passengers stand on the right and walk on the left hand side of escalators.Holborn station has one of the longest escalators in London and has operated the ‘keep right’ rule since the 1920s. We’re not so good with change…and it appears we aren’t the only ones!


Numerous commuters have expressed doubt as to whether the new rules will be effective. The plan was met with scepticism with numerous stating that it just didn’t make sense: “I usually walk on the left. I don’t think it’ll improve flow or make things easier. It seems a little odd.” (Elyse Jenkins). Transport for London said the tests were put in place to see if standing still on escalators could actually reduce the time it takes for commuters to exit the station (Holborn being one the most congested in London), claiming that “we believe this will increase the capacity of the escalators as more people will be able to board, preventing queuing at the bottom of the escalator.” We’re not convinced Teffy…but go on, twist our arms – we won’t be saying no to a nicer commute!

What do you think? Comment below with your ideas. 

Featured Image Credit: LingYangChen

Tags: tube, underground
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