WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Metro Escalators Suffer From Lack Of Weatherproofing

Play associated audio
There are two escalators leading out of the platform at Union Station, one of Metro’s busiest stations.
David Schultz
There are two escalators leading out of the platform at Union Station, one of Metro’s busiest stations.

There are two escalators leading out of the platform at Union Station, one of Metro's busiest stations. One of them is under construction and the other is shut down, which means it's essentially just a set of stairs -- a really long set of stairs.

"This has been a small nightmare for the last four months," says Ashley Kristof, a commuter who uses this station every day.

Kristof points to a plywood barrier surrounding the escalator under construction, with posters on it detailing why it's out of commission

"I think its a mix of Metro trying to look like they're doing something, so people aren't upset, and it looks like we're making repairs!" she says. "But I think it actually just makes people more angry, than anything."

Metro has almost 600 escalators, and according to its own numbers, only 60 percent are functioning at any given time. It's even worse when the weather is bad.

"If it rains, outside units, I'm sorry to say, most of them will cut off," says Tim Hoepfl, a Metro escalator technician speaking at a labor town hall meeting. "The handrails slip, the brakes are wet, it will cut off."

Metro's escalators are long. The one at Wheaton station is 230 feet – the longest escalator in the western hemisphere. When those escalators shut down, only the most athletic of riders can climb up them.

"And I know that a lot of this is design," says Hoepf. "And I know that a lot of people have complained, and now Metro is listening."

Metro has plans to spend more than $130 million over the next six years to rehabilitate many of its escalators. In the meantime, Washingtonians are left praying it doesn't rain.

NPR

Bonjour, Barbie! An American Icon Packs Her Heels And Heads To France

Some 700 Barbie dolls are visiting Paris this summer. They span almost six decades of pretty, plastic history, including Malibu Barbie, astronaut Barbie, and, of course, Royal Canadian Mountie Barbie.
NPR

Domino's Pizza Tests Drone Delivery In New Zealand

Don't expect the service soon. The head of a drone company told Reuters they have to figure out how to navigate "random hazards like power lines, moving vehicles and children in the backyard playing."
NPR

All Mixed Up: What Do We Call People Of Multiple Backgrounds?

The share of multiracial children in America has multiplied tenfold in the past 50 years. It's a good time to take stock of our shared vocabulary when it comes to describing Americans like me.
WAMU 88.5

A Cyber-Psychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

Dr. Mary Aiken, a pioneering cyber-psychologist, work inspired the CBS television series "CSI: Cyber". She explains how going online changes our behavior in small and dramatic ways, and what that means for how we think about our relationship with technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.