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The good news is that Metro escalator availability  is reportedly at a five-year high. The bad? If you’re a frequent Metro rider who uses the system twice a day, you’re statistically likely to confront a broken escalator at least once a week.

Tucked within a 50-page document answering questions in preparation for a D.C. Council oversight hearing, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority listed the Metro system’s “worst” escalators during the 2013 fiscal year and 2014 year to date. Caroline Laurin, a spokeswoman for WMATA, notes that Metro escalator availability was at 92.1 percent in fiscal year 2013, compared to 85.5 percent in 2011. She also provided some context to see just how bad (or not bad) these five delinquent escalators were in 2013. (City Desk previously reported on a non-WMATA list of the worst escalators of 2013.)

  • Archives (entrance escalator): With 169 work orders in fiscal year 2013, this escalator required more attention than any other. It is scheduled for replacement or rehabilitation in 2017.
  • Gallery Place (mezzanine to Red Line platform, 7th and G Street entrance): There were 19 work orders for this escalator. In most cases, the escalator went out of service due to comb impact switch activation, which is a safety sensor working as intended,” Laurin wrote.  The work order number is low for this escalator because resetting the unit after a comb-sensor activation is something that can be done by a station manager without opening a ticket.
  • Woodley Park (upper mezzanine to lower mezzanine): There were 114 work orders opened for this 456-foot escalator, which is the third longest in the system. Longer escalators are more challenging to maintain, according to Laurin, and this one is slated for replacement in 2016.
  • Dupont Circle (mezzanine to platform, Q Street entrance): There were 44 work orders opened for this escalator.
  • Georgia Avenue-Petworth (mezzanine to platform): There were 130 work orders opened for this escalator. The escalator is being replaced this year.

To date, the five worst performing escalators in fiscal year 2014 are:

  • Smithsonian (mezzanine to platform)
  • Gallery Place (lower mezzanine to yellow/green line, 7th and H streets entrance)
  • L’Enfant Plaza (mezzanine to yellow/green platform)
  • L’Enfant Plaza (street to mezzanine)
  • Eastern Market (street to mezzanine)

In 2013, Metro awarded a contract to replace 128 of the system’s 588 escalators by 2020 and is currently in the process of installing six new ones.

But the latest Metro escalator news coming out this week isn’t so positive: Issues with the futuristic staircases were listed as one of the reasons for the most recent delay of the Silver Line opening.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery