Subway escalators are on an upswing
Things are looking up for the subways escalators.
NYC Transit is pushing the owner of two long-busted escalators at the Union Square station to fix them, the result a new program to force developers to pony up for repairs. And some long-broken escalators owned by the MTA are finally moving again.
Escalators are one of the most difficult things for the agency to fix, and the MTA hasn't historically gone after private developers with defective elevators or escalators. But in the past year, agency officials have started pressuring owners to maintain their
charges, Transit President Howard Roberts said.
It's a philosophical change, said Ellyn Shannon of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA. Access to the system is now important to them whether they own the escalator or not.Zeckendorf Towers, a condo owner, built the escalators at the southeast corner of Union Square station. The stairways have been out for years, a source of constant frustration for less able-bodied riders.
This is criminal, said Aladin Haidalgo, 59, a Brooklyn rider struggling to walk up the subway stairs with a cane Monday. It's a major impediment.
Zeckendorf tried to sock NYC Transit with the bill for the escalators, but the company recently agreed to pony up for the millions of dollar in repairs, transit spokesman Paul Fleuranges said.
Fleuranges could not say when the escalators will be fixed, as it's up to the owner. A spokesman for Zeckendorf declined comment.
Meanwhile, the MTA has made strides in taking care of its own equipment.
After months of outages, all 12 escalators now run at Herald Square, the system's third busiest station. The MTA recently spent $36 million to overhaul the escalators, but the contractor did not install them properly. The escalators broke a total of 150 times during the first part of this year, with three of the stairways not running at all, according to MTA figures.
The repairs wrapped up in the last month or so. The contractor paid for the work, Fleuranges said.
In Queens, a chronically broken escalator at the Flushing-Main St stop on the No. 7 was repaired in May, Fleuranges said. Transit is moving on to the two other busted escalators traveling into the deep station he said.
Anastasia Economides contributed to this story.