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Friday 11 March 2016

Toby Young Escalator Idiocy

London’s Tube system is having to transport more passengers year-on-year. The ways in which it can accomplish this without having to turn some of them away are slowly but surely becoming exhausted: more capacity by resignalling, and thereby running more trains in a given period, is one. But those passengers still have to be got safely to and from platform level - which usually means escalators.
Another grown-up contribution to press punditry

Transport for London has shown in a recent practical demonstration that the carrying capacity of escalators can be increased by having passengers stand at both right and left, rather than only standing on the right and allowing the more energetic and hurried users to walk up on the left. Thus queues at the foot of escalators can be avoided and passengers cleared from busy stations much more rapidly.

So far, so interesting, but the idea of doing as he is told for the greater good is clearly anathema to the loathsome Toby Young, who has been allowed a platform of another kind at the increasingly desperate Telegraph to announce to the worldWe Londoners will explode with rage if we have to stand on the escalator … Abandoning a convention that has served the Underground well for more than 50 years is a step too far”.

This is, to no surprise at all, absolute tosh. Tobes initially concedes that the trial showed that escalator capacity could be increased by 30%, before it all gets very silly indeed: “So it makes sense, but there are a number of reasons to oppose this change”. Like what? “First, it’s a bit dictatorial … it … limits people’s choices”. Like the choice of not being able to travel because the network is full to the point of being unsafe?

It gets worse. “If I didn’t have that choice, I would feel very frustrated”. You’d feel worse if you couldn’t get into central London from Acton because of all the other selfish idiots clogging up the system. And worse: “if it decides to implement this change more widely, I hope it carries out a proper consultation”. IT JUST DID ONE. And worse: “stopping people walking up won’t help tackle Britain’s burgeoning obesity problem”.

Christ on a bike, the overweight aren’t going to be in any shape to walk up the escalator. And there are 101 other and probably better ways of keeping in shape. We’re talking about keeping the Tube and its users moving versus the whole thing seizing up. And it gets worse still: “it will be very, very difficult to enforce”. No it won’t - flashing sign at foot of escalator, job done. Plus good information. People then understand the new rules.

But there has to be a final slice of Tobes idiocy: “will Londoners want to stand two abreast? At the moment, it’s customary on escalators to leave an empty step between you and the person above and below you. To stand any closer would be an invasion of each other's personal space”. Like when you walk up and shove past all the unfortunate people standing on the right? If there’s room for that, there’s room for standing two abreast.

Sometimes it seems that Toby Young is being contrary for the sheer hell of it. For his sake, I hope that is the reason for this slice of self-serving idiocy. If he really believed that it was OK to behave in a way that had the potential to screw up the Tube, he might be dangerous. As well as unfit to run the West London Free School. Hello Tobes.


Ed Wilson said...

It makes sense, so I'm against it - Toby Young

AndyC said...

Of course Capt Bellend is too stupid to realise that this is not for all escalators at all stations all of the time.

Arnold said...

"To stand any closer would be an invasion of each other's personal space”
Has he ever actually been aboard an underground train in the rush hour?

Andy McDonald said...

And avoiding the fact that personal space goes out of the window in a crowded train carriage anyway.

pete c said...

Plonker. Most exercising of 'personal space' is usually suspended once on the Tube.
Unless you spend large chunks of your time at somewhere like Angel, you don't actually spend too long on most escalators.
And why should it be odd to have a stranger alongside you. You'll likely be a lot closer once you get on the wedged train anyway.
As for dictatorial and limiting people's choices. I don't recall him shouting too much when the travelling public was being forced into accepting successive levels of unwelcome Oyster functionality. Or recently, with the public being forced to cope on it's own with the complexities of ticketing, now Tfl have managed to close all ticket offices.
The whole ethos of the last 10 years has been the limiting of passengers choice, in ways far more offensive than rubbing an occasional strangers shoulders.

Anonymous said...

For some reason no one seems to acknowledge that standing on both sides on the up escalators at Holborn in the morning peak was standard practice in the mid 1980s. I don’t know why it stopped.

Anonymous said...

The guy has the intellect of a rabid duck.

As far as "We Londoners" are concerned......the rest of the country couldn't give a toss if that tiny ghetto of selfish and greedy whiners chokes on their own pollution. Anyone who travels like a rat in a drainpipe deserves all he/she gets. Them and loony Toby.

To hell with them all.

Malcolm Armsteen said...

Andy - you could have stopped at 'Captain Bellend is too stupid."

webofevil said...

"At the moment, it’s customary on escalators to leave an empty step between you and the person above and below you. To stand any closer would be an invasion of each other's personal space."

Possibly Toby Young himself tries to do this (in which case good luck to him, I guess) but any claim that other Londoners do the same is either a delusion or a flat-out lie - in other words, a Toby Young column.

A.Robot (Mrs) said...

I regard it as a gross invasion of my personal space to have to have this tosser living in the same city as me.

SteveB said...

Tosser he may be but he could have accidentally come up with a compromise! Instead of standing on both sides just have those on the right leave smaller gaps.

I'm just glad I've given up visiting London....

pete c said...

Unfortunately, most of those having to endure rat in a tube conditions don't deserve it. They still have to come out smiling and empty the bins, feed the masses, teach the children, operate a transport system, patch folk up in hospital, etc,etc.

Let's save the bile for those who actually deserve it. Not as though they are in short supply.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought he was OK. Seen him on BBC QT.
Nodded in agreement with him on a few points.

Anonymous said...

He’s really not OK, Anonymous 12.3.16 09:07. Do some research into him and you will discover quite how not OK he is.

Anonymous said...

A fine example of me-first right wing libertarianism.