Moving up in the world

In the building in which I work, there are three lifts (elevators). Two of them are next to one another and "talk" to each other; the third is on the opposite wall, and is blissfully unaware of its two more salubrious siblings. All three lifs serve the nine floors available to us. (The lonely lift also serves the basement, but that’s not important right now. It’s really not.)

Users’ impatience generally means that when they want to floor-hop, they press the appropriately-labelled direction button on both walls. Whichever lift arrives first will be their mode of transport, the opposite lift usually containing forlorned passengers (for that’s what they are), frustrated at the stupidity of their anonymous colleague, even though they were probably guilty of an identical crime moments earlier.

I’ve often wondered about lift algorithms, a wonder that has grown while working at this office. The wonder increased yet further when one of the twin lifts broke down recently, leaving two independently-controlled lifts in operation. The 33% reduction in the number of lists increased the time taken waiting for lifts by an estimated 60%. (The latter figure is pure speculation but it certainly felt that high.) Lift journey times also increased, with stop-offs at seemingly every floor.

I figured that a more productive approach would have been to disable all up buttons on one side, and all down buttons on the other. If you were going up, you’d go to the salubrious side (after all, going up is more rewarding, so should maintain its glass-encased pleasure); and if you were going down, you’d press the button calling the depressing, steel-encased lift.

When the glass-encased lift reached the top of the building, it would zoom all the way to the bottom to start its journey again, so long as it didn’t shoot out of the roof Charlie-style. And on reaching the lower-ground floor, the steel prison would shoot back up to seven to again begin its descent.

I’m pretty sure that preventing the selfish act would result in quicker arrival at your destination.


One Response to “Moving up in the world”

  1. ukok on July 15th, 2008 13:39

    Or, as you are on the first floor, take the stairs. The smart man of course states he is going to take the stairs, gets his green credentials and heads to that part of the building and take either of the never used lifts at either end of the building.

    But then you would have nothing to moan about.

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