One of China’s smallest escalators has gone viral on social media after web users questioned their purpose – especially since no one appears to have felt the need to repair it when it broke down several years ago.
Pictures of the non-moving staircase, located in front of the entrance of a major shopping centre in the southwestern city of Chongqing were widely shared on social media – often with sarcastic comments.
It currently carries a note saying “The escalator is out of service. Do not ride it”, according to Chongqing Morning Post.
Since there is a staircase alongside it, many web users suggested this was unlikely to be a problem.
“The escalator has been out of operation for several years,” a sanitation worker who was working nearby told the newspaper
“When the escalator was in service, some people would ride it, probably just for fun.
“But seriously, walking up the staircase is faster.”
Social media users expressed their astonishment that it been commissioned in the first place.
“Chongqing is such a mysterious city,” said a female Weibo user.
“What is it? Isn’t it waste of money? What the hell is this design?” asked one man.
But a poster from Inner Mongolia suggested it might be useful if elderly people were selling things at the mall.
A member of staff at the company that runs the shopping centre said the escalator had been not installed by the managers but they were responsible for maintenance.
The staff declined to explain why it had been installed in the first place.
Nor did they explain why no one had repaired it when it broke down, but they said the problem was believed to have been caused by rainwater, adding that it would probably be fixed next year.
“Since the escalator is not working and no one is riding it, it is just like a decoration,” a frequent shop-goer at the mall told the reporter.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the shortest escalator in the world which has only five steps, is located in Kawasaki in Japan.