STM Es­ca­la­tors - Not work­ing still

Montreal Times - - News -

There are 296 es­ca­la­tors in Mon­treal’s metro sta­tions, but 17 of them are cur­rently out of or­der. The prob­lem and the ques­tion - why is it tak­ing so long to re­pair them?

Ap­prox­i­mately 1 mil­lion peo­ple use the es­ca­la­tors each day and many are be­ing forced to walk up and down some very steep stairs in or­der to access the metro trains. One of the es­ca­la­tors at the Pla­m­on­don metro sta­tion has been bro­ken for sev­eral months and it could be a while be­fore it’s fixed. In the mean­time, com­muters have no choice but to walk up and down a 110-step stair­case - in­clud­ing those with phys­i­cal chal­lenges or health is­sues - and even those with baby car­riages or small chil­dren cling­ing to them. It's dan­ger­ous and not fair to those who have to use - and pay for the ser­vice.They de­serve com­pen­sa­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the STM, the es­ca­la­tor at Pla­m­on­don's Van Horne en­trance re­quires 'a num­ber of com­po­nents that are cru­cial to es­ca­la­tor op­er­a­tions' and in need of be­ing re­placed.The other es­ca­la­tor next to it has been set to run up­wards - but that still leaves most com­muters with a ma­jor chal­lenge.The sched­uled date of com­ple­tion is 'to be an­nounced'. Not very com­fort­ing given the STM's track record.

How could it pos­si­bly be tak­ing so long for these re­pairs to be done?

The STM's an­swer: 'Most of the es­ca­la­tors in the un­der­ground sys­tem were re­placed over the past few years. How­ever, there are still some sixty es­ca­la­tors that date back to the metro's ex­pan­sion in the 70's and 80's. And when they break down, re­pair­ing them is more com­pli­cated. Spare parts are harder to ob­tain, caus­ing fur­ther de­lays.This un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion cur­rently pre­vails in a few sta­tions, where get­ting the es­ca­la­tors up and run­ning is a long time com­ing'.

Which brings up sev­eral more ques­tions on peo­ple's minds: Where was the fore­thought? Where was the plan­ning? They knew they had an ag­ing sys­tem, so why were some of the parts not stocked in ad­vance - or at least sourced out? Why are com­muters, the ma­jor­ity who use pub­lic tran­sit to get to work or around the city, now pay­ing the price?

An­other ex­am­ple of in­ep­ti­tude is at the Du Col­lege metro sta­tion, where the du Col­lege en­trance has been com­pletely closed since Fe­bru­ary of 2017 in or­der for an el­e­va­tor to be in­stalled.This leaves com­muters to walk a long block to the Cartier street en­trance at least un­til the sum­mer of 2018. It is clearly a big project re­quir­ing much com­pli­cated work and worth the ef­fort, but the ex­tra ser­vices put in place to ease the pain have been let­ting users down in a big way.

When the project be­gan, the STM mod­i­fied the north­bound and south­bound 128 bus to stop at the Cartier en­try­way and the ter­mi­nus stop for the 73 bus was also moved to the bus loop. Sounds good in the­ory, but there have been count­less times when the buses were too packed to get on, or too late to bother to wait for - and just this past sum­mer an es­ca­la­tor broke down at the Cartier sta­tion, leav­ing users to prac­tice their climb­ing skills for months. Noth­ing to re­ally help them was put in place. Were they wait­ing for some­one to have a heart at­tack first or fall down the stairs?

At city hall, Mayor Coderre's con­stant cries for peo­ple to use pub­lic tran­sit, echo through the un­der­ground tun­nels on a con­stant ba­sis - but it's com­ing from a man who doesn’t use the very sys­tem he tells oth­ers to use. In fact, he has chauf­feurs to drive him around. Last year, they an­nounced $200,000 was be­ing added to the city's chauf­feur bud­get bring­ing it up to well over $330,000 and they even hired an ex­tra driver to meet the needs of the mayor and his ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers. They also bud­geted an­other $131,000 in over­time costs for the 'chauf­feur pool'. Be­fore Coderre took of­fice in 2013, only two driv­ers were re­quired to meet the needs of the mayor and mem­bers of his ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee.

It's not right. It's not fair. And it's a shame. Com­muters are left with very lit­tle choice, but to grin and bear it. Now with the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions right around the cor­ner, prom­ises are sud­denly be­ing made, much to the cha­grin of many Mon­treal­ers. Be­ware of how you cast your vote - you might con­tinue pay­ing for it.

For a list of es­ca­la­tors un­der re­pair, with de­tails on their progress go to: o/ser­vice-up­dates/workesca­la­tors

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