Subway Elevator & Escalator Reliability Improves

In what can be seen as positive news, MTA NYC Transit has announced that NYC Subway elevator & escalator reliability has improved. Here is the lowdown:

Aggressive efforts over the past year are starting to pay off as MTA New York City Transit elevators and escalators have become increasingly more reliable. Elevator reliability is at 98.1 percent during the first quarter in 2012, up from 96.7 percent in 2010. Escalator reliability is at 96.2 percent, up from 91.6 percent in 2010.

Over the past several months, NYC Transit has expanded its focus to address the shortcomings that existed in elevator and escalator performance by doing scheduled maintenance on equipment 24hrs a day / 7 days a week to minimize the total duration of equipment outages and maximize availability. The Elevator and Escalator Division also improved remote access to system databases in order to respond to outages faster. The E & E Division has also been taking advantage of Fastrack and other station closures to address maintenance needs without affecting customer service.

“We know how a broken elevator or escalator, no matter how long, can impact a customer’s trip, especially for our disabled riders,” said NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast. “Through new leadership and an increased focus on preventative maintenance and faster response times to outages, we have been able to improve our equipment’s reliability in order to provide a safer, more seamless trip to our riding public.

There are 235 elevators of which 196 provide service for our customers, 178 escalators and two power walks that the E & E Division is responsible for maintaining. Additionally, NYCT continues to work with private entities to ensure the more than 30 pieces of out-of-system equipment is maintained as well.

To help better train E & E personnel, NYC Transit operates a specialized training annex aimed at teaching the maintenance and repair of elevators, escalators and moving walkways. The facility offers extensive hands-on training so employees will be as prepared as possible as they work to keep the subway system’s elevators and escalators in a state of good repair. The annex is a vital tool in maintaining the reliability of the system’s elevator and escalator equipment.

NYC Transit’s $1.3 million electronic monitoring system continues to alert maintainers when an elevator or escalator stops working. Every piece of equipment is online and connected to a central display ensuring a rapid response by repair forces.

Acknowledging that elevators may fail at times, we post equipment outage information on the MTA website at The information is updated three times over the course of the day and gives riders an early warning of what equipment is being worked on. The MTA is now offering customers the opportunity to receive up-to-the-minute updates on the status of elevators and escalators through a new email alert notification system.

Customers can subscribe to as many locations as they need. They can subscribe by borough and station. When they pick the station, they will be able to pick a particular elevator or escalator. After subscribing, customers will receive an alert when an outage occurs. A second email alert will be issued once that piece of equipment is back in operation. Riders can sign up now at

I am glad to see that the steps taken by the MTA have been working. It has been no secret that the agency has been plagued with reliability issues for years. How many times have you wanted or even seen an elevator or escalator out? If I had a dollar for every time I encountered it, I would be loaded!

Although the numbers have improved, let’s hope that the MTA does not start to ease up & abandon the proactive measures that clearly have been working of late as it would be a shame to see all of this go to waste.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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