Escalator outage rate doubles
It hasn't just seemed like it: Metro's already-decried escalator outage rates, which generally hover around 10 to 12 percent, have gotten far worse this week, with a quarter of escalators out on the Red Line during this morning's rush hour.
The incident at L'Enfant Plaza during the Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert rally, when an escalator's brakes failed, sending the stairway into a freefall for 18 seconds and injuring several, may lead to improvements in the long-run, as it prompted system-wide inspections. But for now, the inspections are only causing more headaches.
That's one observation from a new online tool from the Gridlock team for watchdogging Metro's performance--and maybe for making your commute a little easier, too.
The "Going up? Metro escalator watch" widget, which you can embed anywhere, provides a daily snapshot of escalator performance rates, by line as well as over time for the entire system.
It pinpoints broken "sets," cases where all sibling escalators, such as both of the two escalators running between many mezzanines and platforms, are broken, causing the potential for bottlenecks.
It highlights the worst-performing stations each morning, based on what percentage of its escalators are out. The worst offenders typically have less than half their escalators functioning.
And it flags newly broken-down vertical transport that was working yesterday, but at 8:30 today was out of service. (See the "Gallery Pl-Chinatown Escalator between middle landing and mezzanine; 7th and H Street/Chinatown Entrance"? That's the site of this accident last night, where a man was observed lying bloodied at the bottom of the escalator.)
The tool lives on our transportation home page, where you can also find a taxi fare calculator, traffic cameras and road incident reports from across the region, and a map and calendar of construction projects.
The transportation home page--washingtonpost.com/transportation-- is also your portal for the Washington Post's best recent long-form journalism, discussion boards and reader feedback, the latest posts from this blog, Dr. Gridlock, and links to series of stories about major projects.
The Post's tool comes after a recent independent audit flagged problems with Metro's escalator maintenance program, but the findings were no surprise to riders, who have huffed and puffed their way past crowds up stationary escalators and prompted a union to claim they could do better.
You can embed the widget on your site or blog with the following code (you can change the size):
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