City Desk

Metro Celebrates the Ups and Downs of Its Escalators

In what probably shouldn't be a major feat for the second busiest Metro system in the country, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority proudly announced today that almost all of its escalators are working.

In a press release issued at 12:35 p.m. today, WMATA patted itself on the back for the 92 percent of its escalators that are currently functioning. As of 1:43 p.m., the transit authority had even better news: It was up to 94.9 escalator functionality.

Compare that to the second quarter of 2011, which runs from April through June, when only 83.6 percent of the system's 588 escalators were working. Currently, there are 16 escalators that are out due to planned maintenance and 14 that are out of service because of unplanned outages.

Metro attributed its gains to the "Metro Forward" rehabilitation effort and the 18 new escalator mechanics that were hired this fiscal year.

Metro's laggard repair times for some of its exceptionally tall escalators have earned the system a pretty sub-par rep these last few years, becoming the subject of mockery, a Twitter feed, and brake failure.

In a few months, Metro will begin its project to replace up to 128 escalators by 2020.

Feels good to be in the 95 percent today.

Photo by Douglas Ullman Jr.
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