We prefer rules, or manners: for example, when I get on elevator with some of my bosses at an office building, it is quite natural that I stand in front of operation buttons, close to the door. When I get on taxi with two of my bosses, I will sit on front passenger seat and the bosses sit on the back of the car. When I have a dinner with a few of my bosses and our customers in a traditional Japanese room with tatami mat and tokonoma, the main alcove, my bosses will be very angry with me if I sit just in front of the alcove. It is quite natural that I sit on a tatami just close to the entrance of the room.
By the way, people in Tokyo stand on the left side when they take an escalator. The right side is a space for those who are in a hurry and would like to walk up or down the escalator. Surprisingly, people in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan, do the opposite. They stand on the right side. I don't know why... Some people in Nagoya, the third largest city and located between Tokyo and Osaka, stand on the right, and the others in Nagoya do on the left side. So on which side do you stand when you get on escalator?? My answer is that you have a choice. I think it is best for you to follow person ahead of you to keep a space for people in a hurry.
Without rules, only a little care and attention to the others and some imagination will work well and be enough, I suppose.