In Melbourne CBD’s Flinders Street Station, there are escalators and stairs to get to and fro train platforms. Whether it’s rush hour or not, at least 90% of passengers who get off the train will leave the platform via the escalators. Even if it’s terribly crowded, people would queue up to get on the escalator. People who prefer to wait on the escalator would stand on the left side, while people who are rushing for time will walk or even run up the escalator on the right side. The escalators on the platforms are usually chock-full of people trying to get on the escalator to leave the platform.
All the while, there’s a flight of stairs RIGHT NEXT TO THE ESCALATOR. And it’s hardly used.
It’s funny how most people would rather queue up to get on the escalator than to walk up the stairs of the same distance to leave the platform. They would rather wait in line to get on the escalator than use the stairs (often during rush hour, the queue can get pretty long). I’m not talking about the elderly, pregnant women or those who have trouble getting up the stairs. I’m talking about fit young men and women who would rather queue up to get on the escalator, wait to reach the top and then run to leave the train station.
It’s a interesting observation how adverse people are to walking up a flight of stairs or two. I know, because I used to be one of them.
I’m not a fan of climbing steps. Up to about a year ago, if you asked me to take the stairs to leave the platform instead of queuing up to take the escalator, I’d tell you the escalator wins hands down. Take the stairs, are you freaking kidding me? Why, when there’s a perfectly-working escalator right next to it?
In IKEA Springvale, there’s a flight of stairs right next to the escalator to get to the “show rooms”. For a long time, Tim would make me climb the stairs instead of take the escalator. Oh how I hated him for it! I thought it was bloody torturous when other customers simply glided up the escalator right next to me *cue Muzak*. Gah!
Anyway, back to the train stations. After one too many times of accidentally getting shoved to the side when people who are rushing to get up and down escalators, people cutting in line to get to the escalator and almost getting into an altercation with an impatient passenger who really needed to get to her train, I decided to skip the damn escalator and use the stairs instead. Sure, I’d be huffing and puffing by the time I reached the top but at least there’s no one to rush me on the stairs.
When my fitness levels improved, climbing flights of stairs started to get easier. It counted into my daily steps quota. It got my heart pumping. It was the small bit of exercise I got on my rest days from running. I don’t detest the stairs with a vengence anymore. Well, at least, not as much as I did before.
These days, if there’s a flight of stairs next to the escalator, I’d almost always take the stairs. I don’t sprint up the stairs (they’re terrible on the knees) but I would walk or do a slow jog up the stairs. And, okay, just between you and me, I do feel just a tad smug looking at people younger than me who’d prefer to wait on the escalator. 😛
A great way to get that bit of exercise in throughout your day is to use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. As long as your knees can take stairs-climbing, opt to climb the stairs. If you’re at the train station, why bother to wait in line to get on the escalator and risk having people accidentally knock you on the side with their bags as they rush up when you can go up the stairs and reach the top quicker than the rest? And hello? Put on that smug face when you do! 😛
Having said that, please only use the stairs when it’s safe. This means no using of deserted emergency exits or stairs that’s very quiet with little or no traffic around you. It’s perfectly fine to use the lifts or escalators in that case.
The next time you’re given the choice of using the escalator or stairs (again, only when it’s safe to use the stairs!), try going for the latter instead. If anything, they make a great addition to your Fitbit steps. 😉