Friday, May 15, 2009

Escalator Forecast: Heavy Sucking With Intermittent Unsucking

It's a mixed day for Metro's escalators. Metro's list of out of service escalators and elevators sometimes can be more depressing than its list of train breakdowns, but today there are signs of hope and, sadly, more evidence that the sucking is nowhere near ending.
First, the good news.
It would appear that for the first time in a long time, all escalators at Foggy Bottom are working today. (Thx brendenchaney and madb0o)
Second, contributor Tim notices signs of hope from Wheaton, which has the longest set of single-span escalators in the Western Hemisphere, according to Wikipedia.
Wheaton, Tim writes, has been down to one working escalator for over three months, and even the working one is temperamental. One of the other two was undergoing a major repair, and while originally slated to be back in service by March, is supposedly going to be ready to go at the end of this month. That promise is looking good, he writes since almost all of the escalator plates are installed. The other broken escalator, effectively serves as a very long StairMaster.
And now the bad news from contributor "CS":
A small but telling incident: Today, for at least the third consecutive rush hour, one of three escalators on the south side of Metro Center that join the Red and Orange/Blue platforms was closed. Regular riders know, of course, that escalator problems are legion. But this closure took place in Metro’s marquee location, so that day after day, many thousands of riders have run into a human logjam, missing trains, etc. If I were Metro management (or John Catoe himself), I would say: “Of all places, it is simply unacceptable that this kind of interruption take place for the better part of a week.” And I would surely bust hump to get the thing open again. But all that has greeted riders this week are the familiar yellow barriers and no sign of any urgency that repairs are being attempted. (Even a sign acknowledging the problem, and explaining that, say, the parts are on order from Australia would help.) The fact this calculus escapes Metro shows why management ultimately doesn’t get the service culture it purports to embrace. Yes, escalators will naturally break down. But that’s a hardware problem. After that, the issue is management -- a challenge Metro evidently is still not able to meet.

DC is not alone with escalator woes.

Photo: buschap

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