Friday, July 16, 2010

Escalator Activism at Dupont


This flyer was being handed out at the Dupont Circle Metro station this morning. It claims Metro could save almost $11 million a year by hiring outside escalator repairmen rather than keeping the job in house.

The flyer cites a 2002 "Blue Ribbon Panel" that was commissioned by Metro.

Furthermore, the makers of the flyer seem to disagree with Metro's decision to bring in consultants again.

At the bottom of the flyer, it says it was produced by the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local #10 ... "the men and woman who installed Metro's escalators and elevators."

Thanks Kara!

Metro's response:
As a point of reference, the numbers cited in that leaflet are questionable. in FY2004 we paid contractors $18M to maintain 497 units. Using the FY2004 figures you could estimate that Metro would pay at least $31M to contractors to maintain the total number of elevators and escalators we support, 863 units. These costs do not include the management and oversight costs (Management, EOC, inspections, etc.) which are absorbed in the operating budget, and they would not gain the economies of scale that bringing the work in-house gives us.

Additionally, For the last three years, an outside contractor has maintained the vertical transportation at Dupont Circle and several other stations. On July 1, Metro began transitioning the escalator maintenance program back to an in-house program to improve operation after analysis showed that Metro personnel’s response time was 36% faster than contractors. Five maintenance employees recently received certification as master escalator technicians. These employees will focus on conducting maintenance inspections that proactively identify maintenance issues, reducing instances of units going out of service unexpectedly.

The added benefit of doing the maintenance in-house is that we control the scheduling and the cost. If we used outside contractors, we would compete for maintainers and other resources with every other escalator/elevator owner in the region. Bringing the maintenance in-house made sense when we began the shift in 2004, and despite recent issues, it makes sense today.

Other items:
Purple Line costs soar (WaPo)
MetroAccess rape suspect has fled (WJLA)
10 innovative subway advertising ideas (via @tracytran)
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