Dear Ray and Tom,

Okay, so this question isn't about cars, but rather a more stationary mode of transportation, the elevator. And not so much a question as a confused rant. Why do elevators work backwards?

Now stick with me here. We all know how an elevator works. You get on at the bottom along with everybody else and the elevator rises and stops at each floor where someone wants to get on or off. Of course the opposite is true on the way down. This works out fine unless you're the poor schmo who works on the top floor. Then you have to waste all your time on the elevator.

So who owns the elevator? The building owner. And who is on the top floor? The owner's most important tenants. These are not the people the owner should keep waiting in the elevator.

The obvious problem is that elevators work backwards. Instead of starting at the bottom and making stops on the way up, the Up elevator should zoom from the lobby to the top of the building and then descend, dropping off workers on the lower floors on the way down. The Down elevator should start on the second floor and pick up workers on the way up. Once it reaches the top floor it would express from the top floor to the lobby. This way the important tenants at the top of the building would not have to wait.

This might take some getting used to. For instance the fastest way to get from the 3rd floor to the 6th floor would be to hit the down button and catch the elevator as it collects passengers on the way up. But the best part of this plan is that the goof on the second floor who is too lazy to take the stairs has to spend an eternity on the elevator.

Yours transportationally

Rich Illing

[ As Read on Car Talk ]