Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Will an Additional $6.8 Million Make the Escalators Work?

via @TrentTheArtist: How you have a line to get on the escalator @unsuckdcmetro #unionstation #redline #wmata

Probably not.


Because Metro pays handsomely for outside, expert consultants to make solid recommendations and then doesn't listen to them.

We all remember how Metro was warned, last fall, by an outside consultant about worn brake pads on the escalators, but Metro didn't do anything about it until the collapse at L'Enfant.

The same report warned of the problems with the pick system.

Now, according to the Examiner, Metro wants to hire up to 55 more escalator/elevator workers at a cost of $6.8 million of your money, but that's not the whole story.

The same comprehensive report about the worn brakes and pick system explicitly warns Metro that hiring more workers will not solve their deep-rooted problems.
"The field staffing appears to be at an acceptable level."
"It is VTX’s [the outside consultant] opinion that just adding field personnel will not solve or minimize the issues of concern."
According to the report, "WMATA is currently budgeted for 142 mechanic positions. At the time of the performance of equipment assessments, only 137 mechanics were on staff."

Sounds like Metro needs 5, not 55.

Clerical error?

We all know how sloppy Metro is with the details.

The real problem?

"Many of Metro's escalator workers don't know what they're doing," said a retired escalator tech who worked for Metro. "They can't keep up, and they never will under the current arrangement. We used to maintain those escalators with just over 60 workers."

They pointed to a lack of ongoing training for Metro's escalator repair staff, a shortfall also cited in the report as a major obstacle to Metro getting its vertical transportation act together.

Other items:
Adding money to SmarTrip via computer? (WaPo)
Metro employee encourages harassment (Hollaback DC)
Memo to DC Metro (Tao of the Original Tracy Tran)
Let's hope this doesn't happen here (NBC Chicago)
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