Hong Kong

Central Mid-Level Escalator






Ascending 135 meters through the streets of a steep hillside on Hong Kong island, the 800-meter-long mid-level escalator linking Queen’s Road in Central to Conduit Road in Mid-Levels is the longest outdoor, covered escalator in the world.  Opened in 1993, the system provides free transportation for residents, commuters and tourists, with ridership currently at 78,000 people a day, three times the original estimate, and takes 25 minutes to travel one way.


Due to limited space in the narrow streets through which the escalator passes, it was not feasible to build two escalators, and so the escalator, which is actually 20 escalators and several moving walkways, travels in a downward direction from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., allowing commuters to reach their offices in Central, and then switches to an uphill direction until midnight.  Stairs parallel the escalator in case you are travelling in the opposite direction.


There are more than a dozen entrance and exit points along the way, with rest areas between the long walkways, and you can get on and off at any point.  In some locations the escalator reaches three storeys, offering views into the markets and open-air food stalls, or dai pai dongs, below.  Weaving its way through residential and commercial neighborhoods, it passes through the glass and steel towers of Central, past narrow alleys and through the Soho district, filled with restaurants and bars, ending at the Mid-Level housing skyscrapers.  Prior to its construction, commuters had to take a circuitous route of several miles of zigzagging roads in order to travel between the two districts.  In addition to easing the commute, the escalators have served to revitalize many neighborhoods.




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