MTA Looks To Decrease Response Times

10 days ago the MTA announced their plan to spend $1.3 million dollars to decrease their response time to escalator & elevator breakdowns throughout the subway system. The plan calls for more than 300 escalators & elevators to be hooked up to a computerized monitoring system. Here is a brief article about the plan courtesy of New York Times writer William Neuman:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to spend $1.3 million to hook up more than 300 elevators and escalators in the subways to a computerized monitoring system that would allow it to respond more quickly to breakdowns. The plan is to be submitted this week to the authority’s board for consideration.

The monitoring system has been tested on 44 elevators, and officials are seeking to expand it to all of the elevators and escalators in the subway stations “in order to enable a rapid response” to breakdowns, according to an authority board document.

Broken elevators and escalators are a frequent complaint of subway riders.

In August, New York City Transit, the branch of the authority that runs the subway system, began posting a list of broken elevators and escalators on its Web site,

The list, which is updated three times a day, is not always accurate because it depends on transit employees or customers to report breakdowns.

Officials said in August that they hoped to expand the computerized monitoring system, which would allow them to post up-to-date information on breakdowns as they occurred.

On Sunday afternoon, the authority’s Web site listed five elevators in five stations as being out of service. It also said that 18 escalators in 10 stations were not working.

The monitoring system is connected to a central display at a dispatch center for elevator and escalator mechanics.

Michael Harris of the Disabled Riders Coalition, an advocacy group, called the monitors an important improvement. “The M.T.A. has historically had a severe problem in knowing when elevators are or are not in service,” he said.

Paul Fleuranges, a spokesman for New York City Transit, said in an e-mail message, “The ability to be able to monitor all of our assets in real time and respond immediately when a piece of equipment fails will go a long way in improving the availability of these important pieces of machinery relied on by our customers, especially those with special needs.”

There are 158 passenger elevators in the subway system, including 138 in 61 stations that are fully accessible to disabled people, according to the transit agency. There are 169 escalators. The subway system has 468 stations.

The transit agency also provides a telephone number for information on elevator and escalator breakdowns, (800) 734-6772.

While I applaud & support the MTA’s plan to decrease response times, one must pose this question. Why wasn’t such a system in place to begin with? This is one of those ideas which should have been on the drawing board to begin with as it would have probably cost less.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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