This is one of series of postings flowing from our trip to Hong Kong and Vietnam between December 15, 2008 and January 7, 2009.
During my visit over the last three weeks in Hong Kong I was on more escalators than in my entire existence. This reflects the well known verticality of both the natural and built environment there. It also shows the city’s interest in maintaining foot traffic as a viable mode of mobility. Even in the more remote parts of the city, pedestrian travel is aided by sidewalks, elevated walkways, and everywhere a web of pedestrian friendly access connected everywhere by escalators.
Compared with the chronic outages of service on the MBTA escalators, I never came across a single escalator that was out of service.
A final little reminder of the more typical lack of reliability of public escalators I experience in the US came on our return at Newark. After clearing customs we rounded a corner to see an escalator to carry us upstairs to catch our connecting flight to Boston. Sure enough, this escalator, a “Schindler” was emitting a loud clanking sound. We had seen plenty of Schindlers as well as Otis escalators in Hong Kong. None greeted us with such dramatic evidence of imminent failure.