It's a sad day when you have to tell people how to use an escalator/moving walkway. However, there is a right way (and a wrong way), to ascend the moving staircase. How do I know? Well, I commute in DC. Trust me, we have more escalator issues than a public transportation system should. First things first hit the jump, and we'll liken this to driving.
Image via The New York Times
Technically, when you drive on the interstate (or autobahn), you drive slower in the right lane and faster in the left lane. Divide your escalator into a left and right lane. Left lane—move it. Just like in driving, you need to keep that lane moving. If you are holding up traffic (i.e. people walking behind you), you need to move over to the right.
It happens to the best of us. You board the right side of the escalator only to be caught behind a person opting to stand on the right. Now, this is completely allowed (just don't catch that person standing on the left side), but you want to pass that person. Good, that's fine. However, like with driving, you need to check your periphery. Is there a fast walking person standing right next to you? Yes? DON'T YOU DARE GET OVER! Walking collisions can be avoided just like vehicular collisions. Check, indicate that you are moving over, and do it. Don't jump over and walk slowly either. If you are not passing a person that is standing still, then you have not done anything. Get back onto the slow side.
Now, you might come across an escalator that is not moving. Treat this like any other set of stairs. Walk up one foot after the other. If you are not quite as nimble as others, you should keep to the right. If you are basically flying up the escalator and gravity is doing its best to keep you from shooting to the moon, definitely use the left side. Don't let a broken escalator back up foot traffic. Just like a traffic jam, you can't have people switching sides or stopping unnecessarily.
Some people have everything (and the kitchen sink) with them on the escalator. If you have luggage or bags, be aware of them. Keep big suitcases on the step directly behind yours. Keep right if you are not going to be moving up the escalator (which you really shouldn't if it is a big bag). Strollers are never recommended on escalators, so do use the elevator (unless it is broken). On a moving walkway, keep the left side clear for fast moving traffic. Don't clog walkways with your luggage.
If you follow these simple rules, walking should be a breeze, and you'll get to your destination in record time.