May 07, 2009

The World's Longest Escalator

Steep and hilly, Hong Kong Island has a network of covered outdoor escalators which start at the base of the business district and end near the far side of the moon. The Central Mid-levels escalator system, as it is called, is 800 meters long and 135 meters high. It is possible to get off or on at each road that the conveyor transport device passes during its ascent or descent. Around 60,000 people travel on it each day. For inhabitants of the island metropolis the escalator ride is just a part of their daily commute, but for visitors it is a fascinating experience not to be missed.

The intricate series of escalators goes in the downwards direction in the morning, following the flow of humans heading to work. After 10 am, the escalators reverse direction and start taking passengers up the slopes. This is ideal for daily usage, but quite tiresome for a tourist who happily rides the escalator for the the 20-25 minutes that it takes to reach the summit, only to realize that he or she will have to trudge all the way back down by foot.

"An escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. You would never see an Escalator Temporarily Out Of Order sign, just Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience." - Mitch Hedberg