STM Escalators not working – why so long to repair?
STM Escalators not working – 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: http://www.stm.info/en/info/service-updates/work-escalators
Bonnie Wurst – mtltimes.ca