Monday, March 12, 2012

Can Metro Escalator Techs Cut It?

The result of broken elevators: wheelchair, unsecured, on the escalator. Via Alex

Just why can't Metro get the escalators and elevators working?

Maybe they just don't know how. And maybe their bosses don't know how. And maybe their bosses don't know how. And maybe management just doesn't know or care.

The below is from someone claiming to have a very good view into Metro's escalator and elevator operation:
I am mortified at what I see. I would rather take the stairs than ride the equipment.

There is a major problem with falsified safety documents.

Management only cares about the percentage of units in service.

The annual inspections on escalators and elevators are completed by WMATA's own inspectors!

Can we say conflict of interest?

The most recent issue that has me concerned are the new supervisors/managers/director that were brought in from other [Metro] departments. They have no training on elevators/escalators, but somehow they received their Qualified Elevator Inspector (QEI) license.

Their qualifications can't be legit. Once again, I believe they have falsified documents.

Also, the apprenticeship program Metro runs is not recognized by any state or any licensing organization. A lot of the mechanics that work at Metro have no business working on the equipment.

I would like WMATA to release all the training documents that proves they have qualified mechanics, inspectors and supervisors.

The state of Virginia will give you a license if you graduate from an approved apprenticeship. Maryland and DC do not have state licensing for elevator mechanics, but they will hand out a certificate stating you graduated from an approved program.

Most Metro employees don't have any of them, unless they came from the outside.

Again, when working for Metro, you do not have to have a license. Nine out of 10 escalator and elevator mechanics at Metro didn't attend an approved program.
Another source familiar with Metro's elevator and escalator operation agreed with this source's assessment of the apprenticeship program Metro has:
Years ago, Metro tried to start an apprentice program, and from what I understand, they attempted to steal the program from the National Elevator Industry Education Program (NEIEP). From what I understand, they were taken to court for that attempt. You know the odd thing is that all licensing regulations allow the WMATA workers not to pass any kind of educational requirements to be licensed.

In Virginia, the WMATA workers do not need a license at all. In DC, the regulations state that WMATA [personnel] need a license but do not have to pay for it. Nor do they, to my knowledge, have to prove any educational involvement. The whole thing is crazy. Their system based on seniority is majorly flawed. It might work in a bus driver setting or station manager setting but it has no place in the construction trades.
This source said he didn't know about the QEI licensing, but said:
I am unsure of falsified QEIs. I would be surprised of that. That would be a tremendous liability. QEI and other elevator inspectors licensing groups have pretty strict guidelines on the qualifications needed to be QEI'd. I don't see how Metro could work around that.
I took that back to the original source who replied with the following:
On the QEI application, look at page 5, which lists the requirements for becoming a QEI. I want to know how the four new supervisors, the two new managers, and the new director met those requirements. All of those guys have never had any training on elevators and escalators. One of the supervisors was a bus driver before he got this job. The other supervisors came from car maintenance. One of the new managers was fired from PEPCO, the other manager came from car maintenance. These guys have only been working for this department for seven or eight months. There is no way they have met the requirements.
Yesterday, I heard from the source that Metro pulled the QEI licenses from some of these people.

Meanwhile, get used to walking on broken escalators.

Other items:
When you think Metro can't sink any lower ... (WTOP)
Amazing Stesseling here (Examiner)
Trouble on the horizon (WaPo)
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