Sound controls

Passenger ‘misuse’ is leading cause of light rail escalator failure, says Sound Transit

According to Sound Transit’s assistant director of vertical transportation, John Carini, the “misuse” of passengers, rather than anything else Sound Transit could control, is the root cause of most escalator failures.

During a presentation to the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board on Sound Transit’s frequent escalator and elevator outages on Wednesday, Carini spoke at length about what the light rail agency is doing to keep riders informed about malfunctions in the system. equipment, noting that the agency relies primarily on the public, rather than internal systems, to let them know when their equipment is down.

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It will be 2024 or later before Sound Transit stops relying on what Carini calls “the human factor” to keep them on top of equipment failures.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that mechanical failures account for about 38 percent of our total failures,” Carini said.

‘Misuse’ is responsible for 32% of equipment failures, while ‘environment’ – which includes falling debris from users that damage said equipment – accounts for 15%.

Sound Transit exceeds its goals for elevators and escalators in service, according to Carini, with the data excluding the downtown light rail tunnel, which Sound Transit took over in January 2021.

According to Sound Transit’s performance tracker, one in three escalators are down at the downtown light rail tunnel at any given time.

Sound Transit announced that it would continue to work to repair broken equipment, while upgrading its elevators and escalators with equipment to ping the agency when they break down, rather than relying on the security personnel or the general public to let them know when something breaks. down.

A pilot program is in place at Beacon Hill, according to Carini, which gives live updates on the status of equipment, quality of rides, when the resort is most used and if anything is working or does not work.

Sound Transit is also currently establishing a replacement schedule for downtown elevators and escalators, with the exception of the International District station, where construction is expected to begin in 2024.