Metro escalator woes: The libertarian diagnosis

The liberty-loving folks over at Reason TV — you might remember them from their look at the D.C. taxicab industry last year — now examine Metro’s lousy escalators. Your host is Kennedy. Yes, MTV-watching persons of a certain, not-so-advanced age — that Kennedy.

Reason’s diagnosis for the escalator woes is “partly” that Metro decided to stop using outside escalator-maintenance contractors in the early 1990s in favor of an in-house maintenance force. The video features one interview, with an escalator technician who worked for the transit agency in the mid-1990s and holds a dim view of the government workforce.

Kennedy’s final word: “Until Metro ... finds a way to introduce some competition, the nation’s top bureaucrats will have to walk, not ride, when trying to get where they’re going in the most powerful city in the world.”

No mention that in the past 20 years, most of these escalators have gotten, well, 20 years older. No mention that many Metro escalators are of a type that have been particularly difficult to maintain and prone to failure. Also no mention that Metro had moved last year to engage private contractors to supplement its own technicians.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
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