In early December 2017, Rocketnews24 reported about a campaign aimed to help the elderly and disabled.
Like many major cities, Tokyo – and Japan in general, encourages commuters on trains and subways when going up or down escalators, to stand on one side, but there is an unwritten understanding that on the other side of the escalator, one can run, or at the very least, move at more brisk pace.
According to Rocketnews24, there is a group that seeks to encourage people to stand on both sides of the escalator to help the elderly and disabled:
“[T]he Tokyo Metropolitan Physical Therapy Association and Japan Elevator Association want to put an end to all of this [walking down one side of an escalator & standing on another], citing safety and inefficiency as major flaws in the system.
By putting up posters in Tokyo’s Nerima Station this summer they have tried to raise awareness to the benefits of standing on both sides of an escalator.”
There is some evidence to that demonstrates that ‘The Tokyo Metropolitan Physical Therapy Association’ have a point as according to Rocketnews24 previous social experiments have proved productive:
“They cite London’s Holborn Station Experiment in which escalators where made to be standing only on both sides so that passenger flow could be analyzed. As a result they found that about 30 percent more people could pass through when people stood on both sides compared to having only standing people on one side.”
However, Japan based netizens fought back with comments like this, suggesting that disabled people shouldn’t want to use the escalator – and coincidentally – whatever this commentator thinks not every station in Japan has an elevator, just as not every disabled person in Japan uses a wheelchair (and therefore doesn’t really need to use an elevator):
Others were less direct but no more sympathetic:
As a commuter in Japan, I really do sympathize. We all want to get to work on time. My physical disability allows me – for now – to move quickly, however that may not always be the case. And if the research from the ‘London Holborn Station Experiment’ holds water, why not adopt a ‘stand on both sides’ to escalators?