Friday 27 February 2009

In Training

By Richard Morley.

The down escalator in my local metro station has been out of order recently. In fact I think the down escalator has been living up to its name more than it has been up and working.

In my travels around the city I have seen the inner workings of many moving staircases as the engineers try to fix what seems to be a recurring problem.

It would seem, though I have no real evidence, that those bits of the metro that don’t run on rails are becoming worn out, run down.

This could be serious problem for the passenger. It is not that long ago that Metro Madrid was planning great things to help the weary passenger move quickly through its stations. Many of the interchanges have long walks between lines and this was identified as a bottleneck in the normally super-efficient working of the system. So there were plans to install more escalators and moving walkways.

This was greeted with great acclaim. Millions of people get carried by these mechanical movers every day. A lack of reliability could present a crisis.

My local station came into being in 1976 and is showing signs of age. But to Metro Madrid , this is not a crisis. It is an opportunity.
The best Metro in the World is now suggesting that all these creature comforts they have been giving us are not good for our health. We are becoming lazy. So, in advertisements in stations across the city we are being exhorted to make use of the metro to – exercise.

That’s right. This has to be the first recorded case of a mass transit system advising its passengers that they would be better off walking.

Take advantage of the Metro to Exercise.
From the time to enter until you leave make your journey more healthy.

Walk down the stair instead of using the escalators.

Walk through the passages instead of using the moving walkways

Of course there is nothing wrong with the trains, just the bits in between. But I suspect this present campaign is no more than a cover up for a lack of maintenance. Or perhaps the high expenditure of the wonderful new rolling stock plus the installation of new monitoring equipment means there’s nothing left to spend on fixing the antique cog wheels and chains that drive the escalators?

And I have to admit I am full of admiration for whoever it was came up with this wheeze. But let’s hope it doesn’t backfire on them. I mean, if we have to walk on the underground, we may as well walk on the surface and save ourselves the fares. Now that would be good exercise!

A more healthy way to use the Metro.

Not that the advertising people the metro uses will be getting much exercise. It’s hard to walk after you have shot yourself in the foot!


  1. Trust those government administrators. They know best for us :>)

  2. You've got to admit they've got cojones for suggesting it!

  3. Now that is what I call Marketing!

  4. Find a fault, make a feature :-)

  5. I see this advertising as a reminder that those "creature comforts" are there to speed things up, not for people to indulge themselves in their laziness. Besides, if they can get people off those "mechanical movers", this would decrease a workload and eventually increase their lifespan. So I'm looking forward to coming to Madrid, a city with the best metro!

  6. I've noticed these adverts around, at the bottom of a staircase in between the escalators, they've put an advert saying climbing the stairs is better..and it literally says 'put one foot in front of the other and walk!'