If you've taken a Metro train lately, chances are good that at least one of the escalators was as still as a mountain.
An independent audit (PDF) recently found several serious flaws in the way Metro maintains and cares for its 588 escalators and 275 elevators.
Among the problems:
- dirty escalator switches
- water in the machine rooms and work areas
- gaps in training for mechanics
- failure to follow maintenance standards and schedules
- a shortage of supervisors to oversee repairs
The audit, conducted by Vertical Transportation Excellence, evaluated 30 escalators and nine elevators at Dupont Circle, Bethesda, Foggy Bottom and Woodley Park -- some of Metro's busiest and most challenging stations.
In response to the findings, Metro said it has taken steps to improve maintenance, including hiring eleven more mechanics. Metro has also increased the number of rapid response teams to deal with problems that pop up during rush hours.
In addition, starting next month, escalators will be replaced at the Foggy Bottom and Dupont stations.
"As an important part of the service that we deliver each day, we understand that the performance of the escalators and elevators needs to improve, which is why an independent assessment was conducted," said Richard Sarles, Metro's general manager. "This assessment now serves as a valuable tool to ultimately improve service. I want to assure our customers that we’ve started down the long road of improvement."
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