Watch above: Broken escalators at LRT stations have reached a critical point of frustration. Vinesh Pratap finds out when they could be fixed.
EDMONTON – It’s been an ongoing headache for users of Edmonton’s LRT system: broken-down escalators.
The escalator at the Century Park station in particular has been a source of frustration for commuters.
“They’ve never worked properly at Century Park. They’re kind of hit and miss at Southgate, and these are the newest escalators in the system,” said Mayor Don Iveson.
The escalators at the Century Park, University and Health Sciences stations are currently not operating. According to Edmonton’s Transportation Department, the Century Park escalator has been out of commission since mid-August.
The Bay Station escalators were also down for several months.
“It’s been broken down for a while actually,” said a student at the U of A station. “Mostly, every time I get here.”
“This escalator has been down for over a month,” said another daily commuter. “I wonder where my taxpayer dollars go and the money that I put into my pass for taking the LRT everyday.”
READ MORE: Commuters air frustrations about broken LRT escalators
The issue isn’t new for the mayor. He’s been hearing about it on 广州蒲友 from Edmontonians.
@vineshpratap @GlobalEdmonton @doniveson because our lrt facilities are old and outdated. In need of good repairs or renovations.
— Roberto Padron (@RobertoAPadron) October 30, 2014
Not just escalators a pain @doniveson – stairs badly done! Narrow, at Northlands particularly. The escalator jams w/ppl on platform. Danger!
— Monica I. (@Macgyyver) October 30, 2014
#yegcc #yeg Now I will ask,who has the install/maintenance contract for escalators at LRT stations,many have not functioned for a long time
— Azim (@zimer77) October 30, 2014
#yeg = Yellow Escalator Guard. What is it with broken escalators in this town? pic.twitter广州桑拿网/Naa2R1Rsva
— gordon gow (@gagow) October 24, 2014
On Wednesday, a transportation committee meeting was held after Iveson and Ward 10 Councillor Michael Walters asked to look into the issue.
Iveson said he’s brought forward his concerns to the transportation department with unsatisfactory responses.
“It’s kind of one excuse after another.
“‘We can’t get parts’, or ‘they weren’t spected right’, and that’s just not good enough. It’s just not good enough.”
The mayor said he’s willing to spend the money to fix the problem if a permanent solution – and cost – is brought froward.
“I’m going to keep asking the question until we figure out a way,” said Iveson.
“And if we have to spend some money to fix the bloody escalators, then I want to know how much we need to spend, when we need to do it, and get it fixed.”
An inquiry into the number of days the LRT escalators are out of service has been requested.
“It’s driving commuters nuts, and if we’re trying to encourage people to use the system and make it accessible, particularly to people with impairments, then escalators are part of that.”
“At the top of the year we certainly had some issues with regards to the escalators, steps being the number one issue,” said Phil Henry with the city’s LRT facilities maintenance department.
“The steps had to be re-manufactured and that was a big problem, especially with some of the older escalators,” he added.
Henry said the department is working with the service providers to “close the gaps.”
“Now, we’re getting into our annual maintenance schedules and so we’re seeing some of the escalators down for servicing.”
He said the Century Park LRT station is unique.
“The approach from the outside is only two or three steps before people hit the escalator, and we’ve incurred more maintenance on that escalator than we’d like to. So, right now there’s a major overhaul on the step chains and the drive mechanisms.”
Henry said the Century Park LRT escalator will be back in service within next few days.
“Safety is our top priority. So, when we have an issue with an escalator, it’s our responsibility to ensure that it’s serviced properly.”
All Edmonton LRT stations are also equipped with an elevator.