- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 19, 2005

Metro officials said yesterday that elevators and escalators are breaking down less frequently and that they are working on better informing riders about malfunctions and repairs.

The plan, outlined at the agency’s weekly meeting, includes posting signs in stations that thoroughly explain to riders why an elevator or escalator is not working and when it will return to service.

?The program will … allow them to choose which stations, entrances and exits to use based on the equipment’s service availability, and inform them about the enhanced reliability of these units,? said Leona Agouridis, an agency customer-communications manager.

However, agency board of directors member Robert Smith said the signs have too much information for riders to absorb quickly while moving through stations.

?I don’t think much of these signs,? said Mr. Smith, who represents Montgomery County. ?It’s got to be a quick hit. You put a red slash through a picture of an escalator and a date under it, and the riders know right away that it doesn’t work — and when it will again.?

Christopher Zimmerman, a board member from Arlington County, said the signs should be tested for feedback from customers. He also said the dispute underscores why the agency needs a rider-advisory council.

Jim Hughes, the agency’s acting deputy general manager of operations, said the signs are in response to riders suggesting more information be readily available.

In addition to posting the signs, the agency will also list maintenance schedules in brochures and on its Web site. Customers will also receive e-mails with information about upcoming escalator and elevator improvements, and when an escalator or elevator will be out of service for more than one week.

The program will be implemented this summer, agency officials said.

They also said escalators are working about 92 percent of the time this year, a 3 percent increase compared to five years ago. On average, 44 of the system’s 588 escalators are taken out of service daily. Elevators are working 97 percent of the time, a 2 percent increase compared to 2002, officials also said. On average, six of the 238 elevators are not in service each day.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide