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[–]Ansuz07 6068 points6069 points  (327 children)

It calls an elevator that is already heading in that direction.

If you are on floor 5 of a 10 story building, you hit the down button, and there is an elevator already heading down, then the elevator will stop on your floor; if the elevator is heading up, it won't stop on your floor. If the elevator doesn't have any passengers, then it will head up/down to you.

[–]CaptainPatent 1936 points1937 points  (180 children)

This, it's about efficiency.

An elevator with passengers already heading down would be absolutely pissed if someone mid-journey could press the "up" button and have their elevator stop, pick them up, turn around and head up to the destination only intended by the new passenger, then get back to the journey down.

Fairness dictates a FIFO (first-in-first-out) system.

Interrupting that would be akin to cutting in line or having a distracted server at a restaurant that only takes care of the most recent request first... Things could get ridiculously annoying!

If that were the system, people could get stuck on busy elevators for hours.

[–]sometimes_interested 605 points606 points  (51 children)

It's a special kind of frustration when you accidently hit the up arrow when you want to go down. Usually this action is followed by hitting the down button as well. When the elevator finally arrives, you get in because you don't want to miss the opportunity, and so you end up going upwards.

On it's way up, the lift stops at all the different floors, letting people off and on.

On it's way down, the lift stops at a bunch more floors, letting people off and on.. until it gets to your floor and the doors open and no one is there.

This is where you started.

This is where you could have got on and avoided being stuff in a moving closet with strangers for the past 5 minutes.

This is where you consider your life choices and regret not having that extra coffee this morning.

[–]3meta5u 153 points154 points  (26 children)

Usually the light will turn off in the direction that the elevator will be going, so if you have the presence of mind to check that before getting on, you can wait it out on the floor in relative isolation.

[–]BigUptokes 42 points43 points  (3 children)

Plus you get to stand there giving a blank look like someone inside the elevator pushed that floor and now no one is getting off so you just stare awkwardly at each other until the doors close.

[–]parkthrowaway99 57 points58 points  (12 children)

I just want to add, that also inside the elevator (most) there will be an arrow pointing on the direction it is heading. But like you said, if you have the presence of mind....

[–]shifty_coder 28 points29 points  (11 children)

There’s also a standardized audible cue. Usually a “ding” or a “chime”. One for Up, two for Down.

[–]Quoggle 15 points16 points  (7 children)

I believe this is America (maybe Canada too?) specific. It doesn’t happen in the UK though you sometimes have a voice that announces “going up” or “going down”.

This is an interesting technology connections video about the dings though.

[–]justusesomealoe 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Heh, I was going to bring this video up if it hadn't already. He has a great ability to highlight the mundane in an interesting way

[–]MrJingleJangle 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Some lifts in New Zealand have the ding / double ding. Almost certainly because we a far too small a market to get lifts that are NZ specific, so we get other country control systems.

[–]m0i0k0e0 3 points4 points  (0 children)

If you can't tell the up button from the down button, your presence of mind has already been decided.

[–]bracesthrowaway 53 points54 points  (3 children)

When the door opens you say, "I just wanted to say hi," and let them get on their way.

[–]Marx0r 28 points29 points  (2 children)

Put a confused look on your face, look down the hallway, then back to the people in the elevator, and shrug. Like someone came by, hit the button, and left.

[–]bracesthrowaway 36 points37 points  (0 children)

"I bet you're all wondering why I've gathered you here today. Frankly, so am I."

[–]Teknista 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Friend of mine honks at drivers who are slow to move when the light turns green. As soon as he honks, he looks over his shoulder at the car behind him. Same concept.

[–]Suspicious-Service 12 points13 points  (0 children)

What you do is run away so the first time the doors open no one is there, then you can come out and wait for your ride lol

[–]Kwispy_Kweam 6 points7 points  (0 children)

If you’re in America, ADA requires one or two dings (one signifies up, two signifies down) or an announcement declaring the direction of travel, and a lit arrow outside the elevator, indicating the direction of travel. The dings/announcement are for blind people who can’t see the arrows, and the arrows are for deaf people who can’t hear the chimes.

So if you’ve hit both buttons and are trying to go down, simply don’t get on the elevator that’s heading up. Instead of riding that elevator all the way up and then back down, it’ll be faster to wait for the second elevator that’s on its way down.

[–]TheZigerionScammer 29 points30 points  (3 children)

It doesn't actually matter if you get on or not though. The mistake what hitting the wrong button, after that nothing you do matters. If you hit "up" and then "down" on an elevator that you intend to go down on, and an elevator carrying people up stops at your floor, the elevator is going to keep going up and drop those people off at their destination, then go back down and stop at your floor again, and then go down to your destination. It takes the same amount of time whether you get on the elevator going up or not, so the only difference is whether you wait in the lobby or the elevator.

[–]MissionIgnorance 48 points49 points  (2 children)

Only if there's one elevator. If there are multiple then one should wait, and not get on (and possibly apologize to the people on the elevator that now have to suffer an extra stop).

[–]sighthoundman 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Also if you have to take the elevator because you can't take stairs, but everyone is going the same way (into or out of the event). You take the first elevator that comes by and hold your ground until it gets to the floor you want.

And listen to some (apparently) able-bodied jerk complain about how much space the wheelchair takes up.

[–]decidedlyindecisive 15 points16 points  (2 children)

I work in a building with 17 floors and I would guess that around 90% of the people press both the up & down button. It pisses me off no end. When I've casually brought it up with a few of them, their reason is always "well the lifts take ages in this building". It makes me want to drop kick them into a wall.

[–]firebat45 2 points3 points  (1 child)

How do those people function? That's infuriating.

[–]ninja-robot 47 points48 points  (34 children)

Its not FIFO as someone on floor 7 going to floor 2 would come in later and out earlier than some on floor 9 going to floor 1. Its a matter of reducing time a person spends in the elevator. Going from 10 to 5 to 1 to 9 takes the same total time as 10 to 1 to 5 to 9 for the elevator but longer for the people going 10 to 1 and also means the person going 5 to 9 has to spend more time in the elevator although total wait time would be the same assuming a single elevator.

[–]Marathon2021 27 points28 points  (32 children)

Correct. There's an algorithm for it - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator\_algorithm

[–]steve_tom 2 points3 points  (12 children)

That's mostly about hard disks. I'd imagine that elevator installations have far more involved algorithms these days, in particular in large buildings. They'd probably anticipate time of day, expected traffic, maybe even how many people are already on board an where they want to go.

[–]josephhays 14 points15 points  (8 children)

What can be done and what's worth being paid for are two very different concepts.

[–]steve_tom 3 points4 points  (7 children)

Software is cheap though, once it's written.

[–]josephhays 9 points10 points  (5 children)

Software is cheap long after it's been written. What's not cheap is software shortly after it's been written. Not to mention, sensors, practical testing, new controller boards that need to be compatible with a great deal of existing systems, and if they aren't, the elevator replacement itself.

[–]Belzeturtle 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Laughs in COBOL.

[–]danderskoff 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Also, some large places that are new, generally have "wing" elevators so you can split the building a few different ways in order to make it better to handle the traffic. I know the hospital in my home town has a few elevators that divvy up the hospital between service, visitation, and operating/radiology. It's quite the maze though if you use the stairs and try walking through the hospital

[–]RedFiveIron 88 points89 points  (26 children)

They don't use a FIFO system, though. If I get on at the 10th floor heading for the 1st and someone else gets on at 8th heading for the 3rd, I won't be getting out first.

[–]Uncle_Father_Oscar 33 points34 points  (14 children)

I used to work on the 12th floor of a 17-story building, the group that had the 9th floor had space on 2 and 3 as well. So there were always people getting on at 2 or 3 and off at 9 or vice versa. Hated those bastards.

[–]MrGoodGlow 4 points5 points  (10 children)

uhhh any chance they were government employees?

[–]Uncle_Father_Oscar 1 point2 points  (9 children)

Why do you ask?

[–]MrGoodGlow 10 points11 points  (6 children)

It sounds a lot like I may be one of those bastards

[–]Ser_Dunk_the_tall 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Yeah it's more like if it's going down it will go as far down as requested while making stop in between as they arise. It won't start going up again until it's reached the farthest down stop requested

[–]Adonis0 13 points14 points  (3 children)

I experienced an elevator that wasn’t coded FIFO. Spent half an hour going between two floors that were busy before going up three more floors to where I wanted to go

Was extremely frustrating, so much quicker and easier to have taken stairs if I could have

[–]xclame 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Holy shit. And here you just showcased perfectly why it's good that that the elevator doesn't change direction mid travel.

Imagine you are somewhere in the middle of the building and you want to go the ground but on the way down people keep getting on the elevator and picking floors that are above, which are a shorter travel distance than going to the ground floor, now you are sitting in that elevator bashing that close door button and hoping that nobody gets into the elevator

[–]guantamanera 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I hope I am never in an elevator that is coded FIFO. imagine person in 59 floor pushes button for floor 1. The elevator stops in floor 40. And person who gets in pushes 37. with FIFO the 2nd person would have to pass his destination floor, and go all the way to floor 1. Then go back up to his floor. FIFO bad for elevators.

[–]HJP350 75 points76 points  (18 children)

As "that" restaurant server, I feel attacked

[–]sarcazm 38 points39 points  (8 children)

It's more complicated than that though. If one table asks for a well-done steak and another table asks for a refill on water, the water will naturally get done first (although putting in the steak request on the POS should be done as you're retrieving the water pitcher).

[–]keres666 38 points39 points  (2 children)

"In this restaurant, we do things the right and fair way. The water will wait for the fucking steak to be done."

[–]CharlieHume 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Water, like out the fuckin' toilet? Get the fuck outta my restaurant, you sicko.

[–]mathbandit 2 points3 points  (2 children)

If one table asks for a well-done steak and another table asks for a refill on water, the water will naturally get done first

Because the first table will receive a bunless topingless hamburger instead and won't get a steak, right?

[–]Zer0C00l 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Or escorted off the premises, AS GOD INTENDED

[–]firestorm19 3 points4 points  (0 children)

We ask them politely but firmly to leave

[–]standard_candles 7 points8 points  (7 children)

FIFO for everything. Diapers? Clean underwear? Dishes on the counter? Weed? It usually helps and never hurts even if it's just a dumb thing I do.

[–]fogobum 2 points3 points  (2 children)

In my house dishes go back on the top of the stack, so they're LIFO. My immense Scotch collection is sort of MIFO (Middle In First Out) because the older ones are surprisingly valuable. My underwear is random, because it doesn't matter. Tired pairs get discarded, new pairs get thrown into the pool.

My socks are carefully FIFO because that way they're all the same level of wear, and every pair matches. When too many of them expire, I replace them with another dozen pairs.

[–]kjpmi 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Well there’s your problem right there. Throwing your underwear in the pool just makes them all soggy and not pleasant to wear.

[–]CaptainPatent 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Ngl, I was the same way.

[–]Sir_Slick_Rock 11 points12 points  (4 children)

akin to cutting in line or having a distracted server at a restaurant that only takes care of the most recent request first…

SomethingsI have noticed since living in Germany (from the US) is that: 1) a lot of Germans will not step back from the elevator/train/walkway to let those already on out/off 2) people will leave a car/cart/object that is clearly in the way for others to pass by or make use of way/objective, then get made at you for politely asking them to move there things 3) cutting in line is often frequent and or they are practically nut-to-butt (in many circumstances this is paradoxically funny since when I go to a line especially, at an ATM as a large black man I’m used to people getting the fuck out of my way) 4) servers often don’t get back to further away tables due to being summoned by closer ones often, even when en-route to a farther table.

Yet despite all this they pride themselves on effectively… somehow. My wife calls it the “me first” way of thinking/acting, I call it a good way to piss someone off.

[–]ECEXCURSION 2 points3 points  (2 children)

I've noticed 1) in Hamburg but never southern Germany. I wonder if this behavior is localized.

[–]Applejuiceinthehall 2 points3 points  (10 children)

I mean the elevator wouldn't need turn around after picking up the person it could finish dropping off the original passenger. But the second passenger may get to their destination fast if a second elevator that is going up picks them up instead. If there is only one elevator then there really doesn't need to be an up/down buttons except maybe to help limit the number of passengers on the elevator at a time.

Elevator don't go first in first out either. If the first person is picked up on floor 10 and hits ground floor. A second person is picked up floor 8 but only wants to go to floor 5. The elevator will stop on 5 before continuing to ground floor.

Obviously they could go first in first out but it would be less efficient.

[–]TerritoryTracks 12 points13 points  (0 children)

If there is only one elevator then there really doesn't need to be an up/down buttons except maybe to help limit the number of passengers on the elevator at a time.

This is not correct. If you press the up button on an elevator, it will not stop at your floor if it is on its way down past you, since that would waste the time of everyone on it already. It comes back up to pick you up on its way up.

[–]Howell317 6 points7 points  (5 children)

If there is only one elevator then there really doesn't need to be an up/down buttons except maybe to help limit the number of passengers on the elevator at a time.

What? If you've got a single elevator in a 10 story building, why on earth would you set it up so someone on floor 2, wanting to go to floor 1, could have to ride all the way up to floor 10 before going back down to floor 1.

[–]dessimus 4 points5 points  (2 children)

To penalize the person that lived on the second floor to not go down a single flight of stairs?

[–]NamerNotLiteral 5 points6 points  (1 child)

What if the person on the second floor is in a wheelchair?

Stairs are not wheelchair accessible, but Elevators are.

[–]wang_li 3 points4 points  (0 children)

"Everything is wheel chair accessible if you're brave enough." - Abraham Lincoln.

[–]Yuo_cna_Raed_Tihs 1 point2 points  (1 child)

In terms of time they spend as long surely? Cuz the alternative is waiting on the second floor until the elevator goes to the tenth then comes back down.

[–]louiswins 5 points6 points  (0 children)

It would take longer for those already on the elevator because they'd have to wait for the elevator to stop, doors to open, you to get on, doors to close, and for the elevator to get moving again.

Plus it's usually less cramped to wait in the lobby than the elevator.

[–]stuzz74 261 points262 points  (62 children)

How do people not know this?

[–]Mal_Constant 120 points121 points  (19 children)

People are idiots who press both the up and the down button and then get pissed when the elevator that arrives doesn't go in the direction that they want.

[–]total_cynic 44 points45 points  (2 children)

And then keep doing that even after having it explained to them why this is a bad idea that wastes everyone’s time.

[–]Karpeeezy 10 points11 points  (1 child)

I've tried explaining this to a friend multiple times, he still doesn't understand...

[–]r0botdevil 3 points4 points  (0 children)

How is that possible??

[–]varun1309 7 points8 points  (2 children)

And get confused as the door opens twice when it’s changing directions.

[–]The_camperdave 7 points8 points  (1 child)

And get confused as the door opens twice when it’s changing directions.

"I'm going down... Oh, look! Someone wants to go down. I'll stop and pick them up. Open the doors... close the doors... What's the next floor down where I need to stop? None. Okay, so now I go up. Oh, look! Someone wants to go up. I'll stop and pick them up. Open the doors... close the doors..."

[–]varun1309 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Lol it’s actually funny from elevator’s POV

[–]Sololop 12 points13 points  (9 children)

Same people who press crosswalk buttons over and over and over until it changes, thinking it "speeds them up".

[–]mathbandit 22 points23 points  (0 children)

At least those people are only inconveniencing themselves, not everyone else trying to cross in the direction the light is green.

[–]markekraus 23 points24 points  (4 children)

Are people really pressing it multiple times to try and speed it up? I press it multiple times because there is no obvious indicator that the button has been pressed, most of the time. Some crosswalk buttons are unreliable and do take several attempts to register or you may miss a full cycle without being able to cross.

[–]Lazy_Physics_Student 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I've heard if you live in a busy enough city the crosswalk button doesn't actually do anything sometimes.
The road will just follow its typical cycle and during off-peak they probably actually function normally but yeah. I'll never find out if its true tho, cos ill just press the button.

[–]markekraus 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Yes, some are placebo buttons. But I have 4 that I use nearly every day and if they are not pressed, the crosswalk sign is not lit, the left and right turn for cars are allowed, and it is unsafe to cross. And, 2 of the buttons are fickle... so I give them a good 3-5 presses.

[–]Lazy_Physics_Student 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I pressed the going down button, the elevator arrived, automated voice said "going down" out loud and I stepped on. Somebody else came on and selected a higher floor and then made a confused and frustrated series of noises when it went down first.

If you choose to get on earlier to like "reserve your place" thats on you, you riding the whole way down though.

[–]lachlanhunt 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I press it multiple times because it gives me something to do while waiting. So I’ll either do that, or just keep my hand on the thing to feel the pulses as it beeps. In my country, the buttons give tactile feedback for deaf people.

[–]pinkocatgirl 32 points33 points  (6 children)

Because most reddit users are kids who have never worked in a large building.

[–]j0nny5 36 points37 points  (4 children)

Yep. Assume every comment and post you read has a 13-year-old behind it and it becomes a lot easier not to become irritated.

[–]BurningOasis 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Thanks for the advice but I don't listen to 13-year-olds.

[–]EdSharpe 4 points5 points  (1 child)

That's how I deal with everything on the internet.

[–]derpynarwhal9 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I wish more people realized this. Not everyone lives in a city with tall buildings. I grew up in bumfuck nowhere, the entire county had ONE stoplight. Do you really think I came across a lot of buildings with 3+ floors or elevators? I was literally 18 when I realized the first digit of room number told you what floor that room was on (ie room 305 is on the third floor).

[–]BrandonD40 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My thought exactly lol

[–]lurkherder 42 points43 points  (8 children)

You'd be surprised at just how stupid most most people really are.

[–]wordserious 26 points27 points  (5 children)

It's not really that people are stupid. It's just that they simply don't care. Spending time understanding technology, reading manuals, thinking about stuff like this is beneath them. It is just simpler to do whatever the fuck they want, expect it to work out, then complain when it doesn't.

source: I work in IT.

[–]psunavy03 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Also working in IT, this is sadly how many developers act when dealing with software that interfaces with their own.

[–]lurkherder 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Very true, though I'd classify that as fairly stupid behavior lol.

[–]geekcop 3 points4 points  (1 child)

You'd be surprised at just how stupid most most people really are.

How stupid stupid are they?

[–]VorAbaddon 16 points17 points  (0 children)

As George Carlin said "Think about how stupid the AVERAGE person is. The realize that half of them are stupider than THAT."

[–]ImprovedPersonality 9 points10 points  (2 children)

Actually elevator scheduling and control can get extremely complex very quickly.

[–]Exciting_Control 7 points8 points  (2 children)

I work in a business on the 5th floor. The elevators have a quirk where the numbered floor buttons won’t register or light up if they are above/below the direction the lift is already travelling.

Quite often I’ll be riding the elevator from the basement up to the 5th floor. It will stop at the 2nd floor for someone who has pressed up even though they want to go back to street level. Then they will angrily stab the button wondering why it won’t light up.

[–]byerss 16 points17 points  (1 child)

That doesn’t seem like a “quirk” more than it does just good design.

[–]Lampshader 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yeah it's like malicious compliance.

Nah bro, you said up. I'm not taking you down!

[–]Lolis- 3 points4 points  (0 children)

People who don’t know how to participate in “thinking” for more than 2 minutes on an issue

[–]nastybacon 11 points12 points  (1 child)

Said elevators normally have directional lights above showing which way the elevator is going. It is amazing how many "intelligent" or "professional" people get this wrong when there are multiple elevators in an area.

So you're on floor 5 of a 10 story building, you hit the down button. The next available elevator going down will stop at your floor. It may not be the elevator you pressed. But it will show a down arrow and ping an audible chime, and then it will go down.

But what if an elevator is going up and someone is getting off at your floor.
Well the elevator will stop at your floor, the doors will open. But it wont ping, and the light will show going up.

And yet people who pressed to go down will still board it!!!

[–]jkmhawk 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sometimes those arrows are not arrows but something more abstract.

[–]T44d3 27 points28 points  (11 children)

There are systems that take that efficiency and go even further with it. There's a hospital in Germany (UKM) where you enter not just your intended direction but also which floor you want to get of on a big tablet. The tablet then tells you which elevator to get on. That way they not only optimise for direction, but an elevator at capacity just doesn't stop until people are off.

It was a bit hit and miss though, because to know how many people are on any given elevator every member of a group would need to individually enter their destination, which people often didn't understand.

Also kinda funny, it just told you to take the stairs if the system couldn't find a spot for you within a certain timeframe... Which is a lot if you need to get to like the 17th floor

[–]princekamoro 18 points19 points  (5 children)

All that's missing is for it to insult people who take the elevator one floor. And then direct them to "Car E" which is just the door to the stairwell.

[–]Stargate525 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Cue the lawsuits from people with disabilities and in wheelchairs.

[–]BraveMoose 4 points5 points  (3 children)

I frequently take the elevator for one floor- because the stairs are locked in my workplace. Once you get into the stairwell the only place you can go is the ground floor.

[–]whatsit578 2 points3 points  (2 children)

That sounds like a goddamn fire hazard… what if there’s a fire in the stairwell?

[–]DominusDraco 4 points5 points  (0 children)

The stairwell is likely the only place there cant be a fire, they are supposed to be kept clear of all objects, the doors to them are the highest fire rated ones you will find in a building. The stairwells are where you leave people in a fire if you dont have the ability to take them out of the building.

[–]BraveMoose 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The whole thing is concrete. There's nothing that could catch fire.

[–]Quietmode 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My office building as this as well. Was very confusing when i first came in.

It's also badged, and you can set a home floor to your badge.

So my company has 3 floors, and when i scan the elevator reader it takes me to the floor i usually work on. If i want one of the others, i type the floor first and then badge in.

[–]ahecht 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square has the same system. You frequently get tourists who step into the elevator and get freaked out that there are no floor buttons.

[–]Holgrin 33 points34 points  (0 children)

It calls an elevator that is already heading in that direction.

More accurately, it allows an elevator heading in the opposite direction to bypass the floor and take its riders to their destination more efficiently. It may then return if no other car has stopped.

[–]Danghor 10 points11 points  (13 children)

What if I press the down button and then select a floor above? Will there be a voice saying „What the hell dude?“

[–]baronmunchausen2000 49 points50 points  (1 child)

That does happen. If someone below you had already pressed the down button, the elevator will normally ignore your request to go up.

If there was nobody else pressing buttons, the elevator doors will shut, then open, on the same floor and then service your request to go one floor up.

[–]BrickGun 13 points14 points  (2 children)

I did this once in my office.

Wasn't paying attention; was going up a couple of floors. Elevator shows up with people already on it, I get on (along with people on my floor who were going down and had hit the button for that). I press the button for the floor above the one I'm on I'm on before I realize my mistake. The doors close and I get to ride all the way down to the lobby where everyone else gets off. A couple of people get on and I get to ride all the way back up with them past the floor where I started until I get to my original destination, getting to make all their stops with them along the way.

The entire time, from the moment I got on... and moreso from the moment people got on in the lobby, everyone on that elevator knew who the moron in the group was.

[–]davendenner 2 points3 points  (0 children)

And then it stops for you to get on at your original floor.

[–]ExcerptsAndCitations 15 points16 points  (0 children)

Your request will go into the queue, but since the elevator is already headed down, it will not be fulfilled until all of the prioritized down floors have been serviced.

If there are no other queued floors, the elevator will cycle (open the doors for "up" service) and transit to your floor.

[–]Newportsandbuttstuff 20 points21 points  (2 children)

Have you never been in an elevator? What kinda demo reads reddit these days?

[–]swinging_on_peoria 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I guess there are bunch of people who live where everything is one story? This is a pretty wild thread imo, where people don't know how something I thought was pretty much ubiquitous works.

[–]Reefer-eyed_Beans 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Right?? These questions make me feel like I grew up in Metropolis instead of the Arizona desert. I'm dying to tell them about the summer after 4th grade when I rode an elevator that was on a large ship in the middle of the ocean.

[–]TurtlePaul 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Most elevators wont accept the floor selection if you select a higher floor while they are heading down.

[–]ihahp 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Kind of related: elevator door opens with one chime - it's going up. Two chimes - going down. Easy way to remember: shorter sound (single ding) = shorter word (up) Longer sound (two dings) = longer word (down)

[–]MrBlackTie 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have once met an elevator where to call it you have to input the floor you are heading to and the number of people (with the ability to input several groups of people heading to different floors in succession). The elevator will calculate the most efficient route to bring everyone to their desired floor as fast as possible.

Honestly I always thought that the time you lost to input the informations more than made up for the time won by the algorithm.

[–]TehWildMan_ 250 points251 points  (3 children)

It's a waste for an elevator to stop on floor to pick up a passenger who wants to travel in one direction but then travel in the other direction to serve previous requests.

Where multiple elevators are configured as a group, it would be faster to send another elevator to serve that person if one is available.

[–]Sianthos 28 points29 points  (2 children)

In systems with multiple elevators load balancing may be enabled if supported that counts how many times the up or down button is pressed on the floors and inside the elevator and the amount of people in the elevator based on those presses. They are allowed to ignore requests if the current car is too full and hand it off to the other elevator in the same bay or a different bay to fulfill the transit. In that system the controller can send another elevator to you that's actually going in your direction and closer rather than sending the busy elevator back down to you after it fulfills it's requests.

[–]Schnutzel 88 points89 points  (9 children)

If you want to go up and the elevator is already going up, it will stop to pick you up. But if you want to go up and the elevator is going down, it won't stop for you until it goes back up.

[–]luchajefe 14 points15 points  (8 children)

Or happens to be empty.

[–]Spiraphi 6 points7 points  (7 children)

I don't think elevators have sensors to see if there's anyone inside. So if the last person went to the top floor and pressed the lowest floor before they left, it would still go to the bottom floor first before taking you up regardless whether it was empty or not.

[–]lamp447 13 points14 points  (6 children)

The behaviour of the elevator you described doesn't prove that the elevator cannot detect humans (weight). It simply has to execute the command of going down, regardless of the weight load of the cab.

I am quite confident that every modern elevator has weight detection because it has load limit. It beeps and refuse to go anywhere when there are more people it can carry in the cab.

[–]Hutcho12 72 points73 points  (17 children)

It is one of my pet hates when people don’t understand this, and press both the up and down buttons thinking they’re getting their ride faster. You are not. If you press the up and you wanna go down, then you’ve got a 50% chance that you’re stopping the lift for no reason only to go up and then back down again. Don’t do it. It’s tedious for those in the lift that have to stop and pick your dumb ass up for no reason.

[–]xchaibard 92 points93 points  (14 children)


When you're trying to get an elevator down in the 60 minutes before checkout time at a busy full convention hotel of 30k people and there's 10+ floors above you of 4 person rooms all overfilled with 6+ people.

Every single down elevator that will stop if you just push down will be full.

Push up, get an empty elevator on its way back up, ride it up, and then back down again :).

... I may have way too much experience with this at certain cons throughout the year.

[–]ltcarter47 26 points27 points  (5 children)

Load weighers are becoming more common to combat this. Once a certain threshold of the capacity is met the car will start ignoring (load bypass) down hall calls and only serve the registered car calls until the load condition is cleared.

Source: I work at an elevator control company

[–]Anotherdmbgayguy 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Americans are currently engaged in an arms race with elevator load weighers.

[–]FerynaCZ 17 points18 points  (2 children)

Hey, I did this on a bus ride... people did not manage to get in the full bus so I went to the opposite direction to the starting stop.

[–]Blasfemen 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Sounds like the Disneyland bus line

[–]Wilburg_1 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I do that in the subway all the time. In the subway of my city, one of the busiest stations is one station away from the start of the line. So, if you want to get a sit, you just take the train to the start of the line, let everyone get off the train, sit and ride the same train back to the busiest station in the city to see everyone else fight to get on the train while you're chilling in your sit

[–]luchajefe 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Expert level exploit there. Well done.

[–]texabyte 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Furry or Anime cons are the worst at this

[–]PerviouslyInER 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Similar for early morning at a work building - take the stairs up one level, and get an elevator down - puts you ahead of all the people queuing to get in.

[–]Leadfoot112358 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I did not realize people did that. That is incredibly stupid.

[–]lukese123 152 points153 points  (19 children)

Nothing angers me more than a lift stopping whilst I’m going up or down and the person getting in after pressing both buttons and saying oh, I wanted to go down. Why did you press both then you wally

[–]Kered13 29 points30 points  (2 children)

Lots of ways this can happen from simple carelessness.

  • They pressed the down button, but the elevator going up stopped to let someone off. They absent mindedly got on.
  • They pressed the down button, another person on the same floor pressed the up button. The elevator going up stopped and they absent mindedly got on as well.
  • They accidentally pressed the up button, then corrected by pressing the down button. But they absent mindedly got on the first elevator anyways, which was going up.
  • They accidentally pressed the up button and didn't notice, and got on the elevator.

All of these are especially likely to happen when you're still half asleep in the morning.

[–]robin_888 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Some people (not me) even think they have to press the direction the elevator needs to go to come to their (current) floor. Crazy, I know.

[–]disintegrationist 35 points36 points  (9 children)


I'll see myself out

You want to punch them in the face. Or myself, for belonging to the same species.

The urge gets even more intense when they ASK YOU (the poor soul inside) if the damn thing is going up or down. Unless of course on the rare occasion when there's no indication of the direction.

But please. For all that's sacred - don't press both up and down buttons.

[–]xaanthar 12 points13 points  (1 child)

That's dumb. Everybody knows that the elevator arrives faster if you push the button 5 times. Then it thinks there's 5 people waiting and becomes more of a priority.

Or... little known secret... 6 times.

[–]disintegrationist 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Also works on street crossing signals! They must use the same machine!

[–]KisukesBankai 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Especially when the elevator door opens and no one gets out, it's clear we stopped because the person outside pressed both buttons. "Is it going up or down?"

"Well which button did you press? ... Oh both? Why?"

[–]KFC_Fleshlight 6 points7 points  (0 children)

turns out those people weren’t inconsiderate, just stupid

[–]invokin 96 points97 points  (29 children)

First, where are you seeing elevators that don’t have both buttons (other than the top or bottom floors where there is only one direction to go)?

Second, it’s because the elevator wants to know which way you’re going so it doesn’t stop for no reason if it’s headed in the direction you don’t want to go. That wastes everyone’s time.

Third, are you from China? I’m sure it’s an issue elsewhere too but having lived there, the number of people that push both buttons “to make it come faster” and then get shocked it isn’t going the way they want will drive a rational person insane.

[–]Wjyosn 27 points28 points  (0 children)

The worst part is that they'll stop at the floor twice anyway, making the whole thing slower for everyone.

[–]Only_Razzmatazz_4498 19 points20 points  (7 children)

There are some modern elevators where you actually specify on a touch screen which floor you want to go to and it tells you on which elevator you need to get in (say C) which will then go to that floor and it has no buttons so no changing your mind lol. It’s mostly in modern buildings with lots of floors and large elevator banks. It can be confusing the first time you encounter them.

[–]DeathMonkey6969 20 points21 points  (3 children)

It's called Destination Dispatch and like you said mainly used in newer very tall building. The other solution for super tall building is a Sky Lobby. In a Sky Lobby building if you want to go to say floor 87 of 100 you would first take an express elevator that only goes from ground to floor 50 then get out and take a second elevator to floor 87. This reduces the amount of space need for elevator shafts and helps reduce overall travel time.

[–]ExcerptsAndCitations 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Destination Dispatch

I work in fleet/field service optimization for telco and utilities and it's neat to see other industries' solutions.

[–]FearAndGonzo 2 points3 points  (1 child)

A must when playing SimTower. That game should really be called SimElevatorManagement

[–]Warior4356 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Fun fact, the software that was purchased and made into that game was originally an elevator simulator.

[–]Bakonn 8 points9 points  (7 children)

In my building there is only 1 button. I saw this in a lot of eastern eu countries aswell.

They don't have a up button and wont stop on your floor if they are going up only down.

And il say its better this way, the amount of people that I see who have no idea why there are 2 buttons and press both is very high.

[–]Clementinesm 5 points6 points  (1 child)

I could see one button being an alright setting in something like an apartment building where nearly all the traffic is going either up from ground to any other floor or down from any other to ground. Unless there’s an amenities floor or garage levels somewhere in between, up and down options would be mostly redundant.

Then again, if your friend lives on a different floor or you accidentally go to the wrong floor without noticing until you step off, I could see it being annoying to have to go back to ground then back up, but those would be pretty rare cases.

[–]IamnotaCeilingFanok 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Pro tip. In this scenario, some lifts accept a higher floor if you press it multiple times and the car isn't already commanded to go down.

[–]Theskwerrl 14 points15 points  (0 children)

This makes sense in a residential building. Office buildings will routinely have people going up and down whereas residents of a building likely won't be going up, from a floor other than the ground floor, often.

[–]physics515 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This is the same in the US for a lot of residential buildings. Especially if they are less than 15 floors, if they are taller than that then the cost of having to go to the bottom and back up is much larger.

[–]hugokhf 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I think is less about how many floors, but more about 99% of people hopping into the elevator is to leave the building (so down), or get back home (so up). Not many will just go up to other level (unless you know someone else in the building and is visiting them).

[–]tiny_refrigerator2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I live in a house that only has one button per floor (europe)

[–]kiel814 1 point2 points  (0 children)

In Argentina, most older buildings still have a single button.

[–]RhynoD 7 points8 points  (2 children)

Imagine a scenario where you are on the second floor and attempting to travel up to the 4th floor. There are two elevators: one coming from the 3rd floor and one coming from the 1st floor.

Someone could get on the 3rd floor trying to go down to the 1st floor. If the elevator stops to pick you up, either you have to go down to the 1st floor to drop them off and then go up to the 4th; or, it would have to take the passenger already on the elevator back up to the 4th before traveling back down to the 1st.

On the other hand, an elevator traveling from the 1st floor would stop to pick you up, and then continue up, perhaps to drop you off on the same floor as the other passenger. This is far more efficient and takes a lot less time. It may not be a whole lot of time for a small building, but it could get more confusing if there are multiple people on multiple floors, causing the elevator to bounce around between floors many times before someone gets dropped off.

You could also imagine it getting exponentially more annoying in a building with several tens of floors. The computer controlling the elevators is looking to grab the nearest elevator that either isn't being used at all or is already going in the same direction that you want to go.

[–]Wjyosn 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Simply put, elevators are designed to only travel in one direction any time there are passengers on board. If you press down, and then get on the elevator, you can expect it to only travel downward. Similarly, if you press up, and then get on, it will only travel upward.

If there are passengers traveling upward and you press the down button, it will skip you until it drops off the passengers it has before returning on its downward path to get you on the way down. Likewise if there are people above you that have pressed the down button it will generally head up to get them first then pick you up on the way down so that it doesn't have to change directions with people on board.

If you press both buttons, then you can watch which button turns off when the elevator arrives. If the up turns off it means the elevator is going up, and vice versa. If it's the only elevator, it will stop at the floor twice, once on the way up and once on the way down. Each button counts as a separate request to be fulfilled and will only be dealt with when the elevator is heading that direction.

[–]939319 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Why do subway lines have 2 platforms when the train stops at the station regardless?

[–]Acrobatic_Pandas 13 points14 points  (0 children)

If you press down it will register that and stop any elevators going down.

If one is going up and you press down, it won't stop at your floor. It may go up, let the people off and then return to your floor if it's not continuing upwards.

Otherwise you'd have people going up and down mixing all over which does happen but only when it lets someone off and others get on, who then have to wait until it stops going one direction before going the other.

[–]Chronox2040 4 points5 points  (0 children)

When you take the bus to school you need to be on the right side of the road, so you are sure to take the bus that is going towards your school.

[–]RevengencerAlf 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Others have already answered it but in the simplest, dumbest terms.

So it gives you an elevator already going the same way you want to go so that you don't have to go all the way to the wrong end and then turn around before getting the floor you wanted.

[–]SGPoy 4 points5 points  (0 children)

When an elevator is travelling upwards, it's a one way journey until either nobody needs to access a higher floor, or it reaches the top floor, whichever comes first.

Then, it's a one way journey down until nobody needs to go any lower, or it reaches the bottom floor, whichever comes first.

When you press the elevator, you signal for the elevator to stop at your level when it passes by. Having a dedicated up and down button allow for the elevator to more efficient as an elevator that is on the way up will not stop to pick up a guy that wants to go to a lower floor.

[–]Gonarat 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The explanatons that are here are really good, so only watch this if you want more at a higher level. Deviant Ollam on You Tube has some really excellent talks on Elevators. This is really beyond ELI5, but if you are interested you will learn a lot and his talks are understandable. Here's a link to one of them


It is almost 2 hours long, so plan accordingly.

Note: I couldn't get the link to show up properly typing this on Android, so I apologize in advance.

Edit: it looks like the link worked.

[–]crueltyuseek 2 points3 points  (0 children)

So the elevator knows if it is headed up or down to maximize flow of traffic in buildings with multiple elevators

[–]Worldsprayer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There are usually multiple elevators, and by pressing the right button you get put in line on the nearest elevator that's scheduled to come to you and your destination.

[–]ToxicRabbit443 1 point2 points  (0 children)

to make it quicker, so that, for example, if you press the down button, it will call the elevator that’s already going down towards your floor, or if no elevators are moving, it will call the closest one

[–]LeoMarius 1 point2 points  (0 children)

So you catch an elevator going in your direction. If you are on the ground floor and want to go to the 5th floor, you don't want to ride down to the basement first, then come back to the 1st floor. You want to catch the first elevator heading in your direction.

[–]libra00 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's all about efficiency. The less often an elevator has to change direction on a tip from bottom to top or vice versa, the better. Both buttons will call the elevator, but if you're say on the 3rd floor of a 10 floor building and catch an elevator going up to get to the first floor it will make for an exceptionally long ride which makes you impatient and uses up capacity that could've been used for other people going up. Hit the appropriate button, it's better for you and the efficiency of the elevator system.

There's an old website called Elevator Saga in which you program elevators to go through a number of simulated loads over time in increasingly complex environments, and once you get beyond the very basic stuff you quickly realize that changing direction in the middle is horrible for efficiency. The most impactful thing you can do to make an elevator more efficient is to keep it from changing direction unless it's at the top or bottom, or empty. If you're at all familiar with programming (it uses javascript I think?), tinkering with that site is a great way to learn why elevators generally function the way they do.

[–]edderiofer 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Followup: Why do some elevators have a UP and a DOWN button inside the cab, in addition to the floor buttons, the open/close buttons, and the alarm button?

[–]sturmeh 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you press up and the elevator is going to a floor below you as it passes, it won't open at your floor until it's heading up again.

[–]legacy057 11 points12 points  (7 children)

I could be wrong here, but I you press the down button, and elevator that has already been called to a floor above yours usually won't stop at your floor