Toronto

TTC's new stand on 'stand right, walk left' escalator policy

The mantra "stand right, walk left" may be ingrained in the minds of escalator users across Toronto, but it has lost the support of the city's public transit agency — at least officially.

The mantra "stand right, walk left" may be ingrained in the minds of escalatorusers across Toronto, but it has lost the support of the city's public transit agency — at least officially.

The Toronto Transit Commission hasremoved allsigns suggesting the practice fromits 294 escalators after a safety inspection agency told them last fall that they were condoning unsafe behaviour.

The best way to ride an escalator, according to the Technical Standards and Safety Authority,is to stand on the right, hold on and stay still. Moving causes accidents,especially with older people, who may be unsteady on their feet, the agency warns.

In fact, last year alone,138 people were injured on TTC escalators, with 50 ending up in hospital.

While the TTC recognizes the lack of signs is unlikely to change escalator-use habits, removing the signs may protect the commission in the event of a lawsuit.

"This is, unfortunately, one of those situations wherethe whole question of legal applicability comes into play," said TTC chair Adam Giambrone. "Obviously, theTTC doesn't have a problem with people walking up escalators.

"Now the reality is that most people — and I think we want most people to— actuallywalk up escalators," he added.

At least one commuter, in true Torontonian style,was alreadyfretting abouthow the new unwritten rule might have an impact on his day.

"I was always impressed byToronto people because this was a courtesy.… [Now]I'm going to be late," he said.