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BART Considers New Approach To Escalator Etiquette For Speedier Exit

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A new idea to get passengers out of BART stations at a faster rate is escalating.

BART officials are looking at an experiment done in the London Underground that had people coming out of a crowded station organize themselves so that everyone is standing on a full escalator.

Traditional etiquette would have passengers who wanted to stand on the escalator stay to the right. People more in a hurry are allowed room to walk on the left.

At London's Holborn Station, transit officials requested people stand on both sides. Turns out, that system got more people out of the station faster.

That's because only 30 percent of the people using the escalator wanted to walk, while 50 percent of the escalator is reserved for walkers. That's a lot of wasted space. More people could be accommodated if people filled the stairway simply by standing.

BART officials tweeted out the results of the experiment and asked engineers if it could work here. They were encouraged because it would easier on the equipment - standing on only one side of the escalator puts more pressure on that part of the stairway and results in more breakdowns.

There are questions about how such a policy would be enforced, but in London, it turned out passengers policed themselves because they found out how much faster they could get out of the station.

There are no plans at the moment to try the experiment here.

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