Dr. Gridlock

Dr. Gridlock: Metro riders frustrated with escalator issues

Metro riders use the stairs to enter the Clarendon Station, where the escalator is out of order. Metro is dealing with many broken escalators throughout the transit system.
Metro riders use the stairs to enter the Clarendon Station, where the escalator is out of order. Metro is dealing with many broken escalators throughout the transit system. (Megan Rossman/the Washington Post)
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By Robert Thomson
Thursday, May 13, 2010

The phrase for 2010 at Metro is "state of good repair." Transit officials use it when talking about how much money they need to run the system every day and how much they will need to keep more things from breaking.

To riders, though, "state of good repair" isn't a financial concept. It's got more to do with where they stand, sit or walk.

During an online chat, I had an exchange with a reader about the saga-length problems with the escalators at the Bethesda Station. Riders there are used to finding all three main entrance escalators out of service, but this was about a new issue concerning the two shorter escalators between the platform and the mezzanine.

One was out of service for a rehabilitation now scheduled to end in early July. Metro has turned off the other one so it can serve as a staircase for people going up or down. It gets crowded, and people get angry.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Metro wonders why riders are annoyed with the service? This is a station that can't deal when one of the three long escalators going into the station is out, and now they expect all those people to funnel up and down one escalator to the platform?

Recently, I walked to the back of the line of people waiting on the platform to get up the escalator. And then another train came in. So people got off the train and went to the front of the line, leaving the rest of us who were waiting patiently to continue to wait to get up the escalator.

Linda D. Epstein

Bethesda


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