The Washington Post

Metro board member exploring change in Metro’s escalator work

It’s hot and it is often the time when Metro’s escalators can break down more often. Hang tight says Metro board member Tommy Wells, who said he is looking into whether the transit system should contract out its work to maintain and repair its elevators and escalators at 86 stations in the region, in hopes that it will improve service.

Wells, who is also a D.C. council member for Ward 6, said he thinks Metro may do better if its 588 escalators and 236 elevators are maintained and repaired by outside, contract workers versus Metro’s in -house repair teams. He said outside contractors are held to “performance measures” and if one is “under performing then you can manage it and change to a contractor who is higher performing.”

He said he has grown concerned that “there’s been a steep decline” of Metro’s escalators and elevators working on a consistent basis.

As of mid-day Wednesday, Metro reported 120 of its escalators and eight of its elevators were under repair. There were repairs at some of the Metro stations with long staircases, including Dupont Circle, Woodley Park and Wheaton.

Metro’s top officials have said they are working to improve the system’s escalator and elevator service.

In public hearings last month on the budget, Richard Sarles, Metro’s general manager, gave a few apologies for escalators and elevators out of service. The best advice: Be patient; they’re working on it. The transit system is spending $148 million over the next five years to replace 140 escalators and 30 elevators in the system, officials said.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.


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