MTA’s New Escalators Off To A Bumpy Start

Yesterday the MTA debuted the 35 variable speed escalators installed at 4 subway stations in Manhattan & Queens. The escalators which use infrared motion sensors to determine what speed to operate at were put in place to help cut down on energy consumption. As one would expect from anything new especially coming from the MTA, the debut did not go off without problems. The New York Times’ Sewall Chan along with contributions from David Giambusso filed this report:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s experiment to introduce 35 “green” escalators in four subway stations started with a lurch on Monday. In some places, it didn’t start at all.

Escalators at the 34th Street-Herald Square and Roosevelt Island stations in Manhattan and the Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer stations in Queens were to begin operating at variable speed, as part of a pilot program to save energy and reduce wear and tear on escalator components.

According to signs posted by the authority, each escalator was equipped with an infrared motion sensor that “sees’ customers approaching and ‘tells’ the escalator to speed up.” The escalators are supposed to slow to just 15 feet per minute when no one is on them, from the normal speed of 100 feet per minute. The escalators gradually accelerate to the full speed, over a few seconds, once a rider steps on.

Late in the day, officials acknowledged that only 22 of the 35 escalators at the four stations were working as intended. (The subway system has 169 escalators.)

Click here for the complete report.

While it is nice to see the MTA try new ways to cut down on energy consumption & costs (doubtful), I will stick by my statement from last week:

I honestly think the MTA should first figure out a better way of maintaining their current crop of escalators before moving on to bigger & better things.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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