Holborn Tube station trials standing-only (no walking) escalators as Transport for London tries to speed up exit with rule-breaking experiment

Lynsey Barber
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London 2012 - London Transport
Walk on the left? Not at Holborn (Source: Getty)
ommuters heading through Holborn during morning rush hour will be stopped from walking up escalators at the Tube station in a new experiment that's actually designed to speed thing up.

The new standing-only rule will be in effect during early peak travel for the next three weeks, breaking what might just be the cardinal rule of London - walk on the left and stand on the right.

The thinking behind the counterintuitive move is that the majority of travellers stand on the escalator at Holborn anyway. This leaves the left, where people usually walk or run, empty. By opening this up to standing passengers, Transport for London will see if it eases the congestion, overcrowding, and number of people queuing to get out.

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“Holborn station is one of the busiest on the Tube network, experiencing high demand in both the morning and evening peaks. To keep up with demand, we have a plan to upgrade the station with a new entrance and an enlarged ticket hall, which will boost capacity by 80 per cent by 2022," said Central Line operations director Peter McNaught.

"In the meantime, as part of a three-week trial to reduce queues and keep people moving through the station, we are encouraging customers to stand on both sides of the ‘up’ escalators during busy periods. 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.”

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