Rising Concerns

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In case the threat of surface-to-air missiles isn't already keeping you awake at night, the AP delivers this shocking headline: "No Federal Agency Regulates Escalators."

But rest easy. If you get maimed by one of these things, at least a government-approved stair-climbing wheelchair is now available.

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  1. Acxtually, I mis-read the original post by Sean. I thought the claim was that the “trains” were always breaking down (which I’ve never noticed). Generally it has been my impression that at least some of the escalators at Metro stops are always running, and some are not. As I walk them whether they are running or not, it doesn’t really bother me either way.

  2. Anyone who’s been to the former Soviet Union can tell you that they’ve got some seriously fast escalators, much bigger and faster than what we have here in the States. If that’s what nationalization of escalatory resources can accomplish, I say we go for the gusto and forget half-measures like regulatory oversight. Bring on the Department of Escalation.

  3. If the DC Metro system is any indication of what to expect with a federally regulated escalator system, it’ll be frequently non-functional and constantly under repair.

  4. I think I’m going to rip the stairs out of my house and replace them with escelators while it’s still legal.

  5. Did you know that terrorists could be riding our escalators and planning escalator attacks at this very moment with no federal agency to watch over them???

    We need a Department of Homeland Escalators, an Escalator Security Administration, and we need to federalize all escalator operators right now…for the children.

  6. Sean,

    I’ve never had a problem with the DC Metro, and I’ve been on it hundreds of times.

  7. OMIGOD! They’re leaving it up to those incompetent city and state governments!

  8. JB:

    I have relatives in DC and every time I’ve been there the escalators have been broken on the Metro. Rumor is they work less often than they are broken. Perhaps you are a lucky bird.

  9. Jean,

    I guess you have been lucky. I travel the red and green lines daily and find it rare not to see an escalator being repaired or simply not running at some point each day. While it causes me little trouble to walk, there are many older/disabled people who have a more difficult time. While the elevator is an option, these are scarce (usually 1 per station) and have a number of outages announced frequently system-wide.

    This morning I took the redline from Union Station to Medical Center. I saw one down escalator out at Union. Medical Center has been using only 2 of 3 escalators for at least the past six months, as was the case yet again today. Additionally, the elevator is under repair there this week.

    Maybe my experience is the norm, maybe yours is, any other DC metro riders?

  10. When I lived there in the early 90s, out of service escalators were common. Fortunately, I never encountered any of the really long ones when they were kaput – Zoo, some of the Virginia stops, etc.

  11. I’m going to get me one a those stair-climbing wheelchairs and ride it up the (unregulated) down escalator for hours and hours. Don’t tell me I don’t know fun!

  12. The only escalators that are regularly broken are the ones on the most heavily used lines – the Orange line as it runs out toward Falls Church, especially at Balston; and the Red Line at the last couple stops on both ends. I lived near Wheaton for a while and had to suffer through about 6 months of a broken escalator at that heavily trafficked stop. It’s the second longest escalator in the system; as I recall, it had 122 steps. There is nothing like trudging up that in a suit, carrying a heavy briefcase, and stepping out into the 95 degree, 95 percent humidity summer heat of the D.C. area.

    But the service outage made perfect sense, if you just think like a marxist. The areas of the Metros with broken escalators were heavily used. Therefore the people using those stops must have been taking more than their fair share of escalator repair resources. Denying them services was a method of divvying up the resources more equitably, in a socially just manner, giving more assistance to those who weren’t such greedy capitalistic horders of Metro services. Such as the folks who live near the Mt. Vernon Square stop, which is very lightly traficked.

  13. I used to ride Metro daily from Vienna to Foggy Bottom, on the Orange Line. One of the three tall escalators leading out of Foggy Bottom was broken for at least six months steady, meaning that the working escalator in the busy direction was always overcrowded.

    The smaller escalators from the stations to the platforms broke so routinely that it wasn’t worth tallying up. I don’t think I took a Metro trip in 2003 without encountering at least one broken escalator.

  14. I don’t have time for this. I’m too busy stockpiling Cipro for the anthrax, slathering on mosquito repellent for the West Nile virus, and duct taping my house. Innumeracy is alive and well.

  15. we must regulate. it’s for the children. just think. if they could ride in comfort, they wouldn’t have to resort to needless, gratuitous prostitution. (as opposed to other, cosier kinds)

    and once when the power went out, i was trapped on an escalator for several hours before someone came to rescue me. “Frendship heights” indeed.

    drf

  16. I have to wonder exactly when Jean Bart was on the DC Metro–in the past 6 years (and I live in the area, used to commute daily on the Metro, and still take it several times a month) the escalators have been down at least on one end of my journey, and I tend toward the Blue and Yellow lines, not Orange or Red.

    Part of this was due to people getting mauled because there had been inadequate maintenance in previous years, so shock-workers were put on Hero projects to restore the escalators. However, contract workers on, er, contracts seem to have to come in behind the shock-workers to actually make the things run after they’re ‘repaired’. Either that or they just repair stuff twice for union goldbr^W^Wgood measure.

  17. If I’m elected governor of California, I will use my whopping 2% mandate to ensure a repairman for every escalator, and to make sure that the giant escalator corporations stop reaming the public! I will make sure that the children of today grow up in a world with safe escalators! And I will make sure that our escalators are secure against possible terrorist attacks!

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