D.C.

Metro behind schedule on repairing escalators, elevators

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The years-long effort to overhaul Metro's escalators and elevators will not be completed on time. The multi-million dollar project was scheduled to be completed by the end of June, but work will continue for months to come

The delay in the transit system’s repair program - Metro Forward - is frustrating for riders who have suffered through years of manuevering around broken escalators and elevators.

“I don't think that Metro understands that not everybody has two good knees and it's hard getting up and down those steps,” says Arletta Banks.

And it’s frustrating for Metro too. The Metro Forward program will spend $150 million and had targeted June 30 to finish work on fixing and overhauling 78 escalators and elevators as part of a plan to solve the problems long term.

But almost a quarter of the repairs won't be done by the deadline.

That’s not the news riders like Bill Haishun, who is wheelchair bound, wants to hear.

“I have to go to another stop to get an elevator that does work,” Haishun says.

“I got a Vietnam veteran right here,” says Paul Tang. “Elevators don't work. You know, where is the money going?”

Metro says the delays were caused by problems with subcontractors working on the escalators. And the company that supplied elevator cabs went bankrupt.

“The heat is going to cause a number of issues and to compound that with coming into a station and nothing is working and it's hot out there that's not a good thing, when you are spending as much money as you are on Metro,” says Terry Holt, a Metro rider.

But Metro says that despite the delays, the overall situation has improved dramatically and that the past five months has been the best stretch as far as elevator and escalator availability since 2008.

Since the beginning of the year Metro says 92 percent of its elevators have been operational on any given day. And now it’s on target to finish work on the remaining fixes within the next few months.

Metro says riders will soon see big changes.

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