Metro Pushes Solutions For Broken Escalators And Jammed Platforms

3:04 PM, Oct 27, 2011   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Power outages, dangerously crowded platforms, broken escalators -- Metro's struggling with all kinds of problems.

At a Metro Board meeting Thursday, members focused on solutions. Pepco is restoring power to Northern Virginia stations where lack of it has slowed trains. Metro is urging people to sign up for e-alerts so they can avoid problems. And the transit agency has put the often troublesome escalators in Bethesda on a priority list for replacement.
 
Metro officials are admitting now they could have done better job earlier this month, when passengers were ordered off at Rosslyn and on to a platform completely jammed with riders. The escalators shut down. And some riders feared they'd be pushed back into a moving train. "You were almost pressed up against the moving train as it was trying to leave," said one worried passenger after he finally got out. 

"In hindsight, we could have held that one train and left it on the platform with the doors closed," says Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Ron Pavlik. 

But the general manager insists crews were simply trying to rescue a man up the tracks who had jumped in front of a train. "This was indicative of a two hour shut down of the railroad," says Richard Sarles.

A two week review concludes Metro really needs to do more to get the word out. "We should be telling more people to stay off the system. It's going to be a two hour delay. You're not going to get home any sooner," says board member Mort Downey.

The Rosslyn escalators shut down because they were overloaded with people. The Bethesda escalators -- often all three -- shut down because the escalators are ancient. "It's just crazy. It's crazy," said one guy after trudging all the way up the escalator.

Metro is promising priority replacement at Bethesda -- but it will be at least another year. "The Board is very much concerned about Bethesda," say board member Kathy Porter, who represents Montgomery County.

Metro is encouraging riders to sign up for e-alerts. On the WMATA web page, you can put in your email address or cell phone number and get messages before you head down into a jammed system.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now & wusa9.com

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