Unlike Washington or London, most subway stations in New York are close to the surface and don’t require long escalators deep into the Earth. This turns out to be a blessing, because the Transit Authority is congenitally unable to keep the moving stairways moving.
The news website The City reports that in the most recent quarter, the subway system registered the worst escalator performance in a decade, falling well below its own 95.2% benchmark. Thirteen percent of escalators were on the fritz.
That adds up to countless senior citizens and people on crutches and little kids and folks carrying heavy bags forced to trudge up and down stairs — an especially serious problem in the system’s few super-deep stations — because, well, there aren’t nearly enough working elevators either.
A major part of the problem is that the escalators are not standardized across the system, the same issue plaguing elevators. The new capital plan envisions replacing 28% of the 232 escalators. But unless the new equipment is easy to maintain and repair, what’s the point of reliving this foolishness?
This isn’t rocket science. It’s just elevator repair.