Passenger ‘misuse’ biggest cause of light-rail escalator failure, Sound Transit says

Aug 12, 2022, 1:01 PM | Updated: 1:47 pm


(Sound Transit/Flickr)

(Sound Transit/Flickr)

Passenger “misuse,” rather than anything Sound Transit could control, is to blame for most escalator failures, according to Sound Transit’s Vertical Conveyance Deputy Director John Carini.

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

Harrell appoints next director of Seattle Department of Transportation

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

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

“Misuse” is responsible for 32% of equipment failures while “environmental” — which includes debris users drop that damage said equipment — stands at 15%.

Sound Transit is exceeding its targets 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 tunnel escalators is down at the downtown light rail tunnel at any given time.

Sound Transit announced it will keep working to repair the broken-down equipment, while also upgrading its elevators and escalators with equipment to ping the agency when they break down, rather than relying on 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, that gives live updates on the status of the equipment, the quality of the rides, when the station is most in use, and if something is running or not running.

Sound Transit is also currently setting up a schedule for replacing the downtown elevators and escalators, with the exception of the International District station, where construction is supposed to start in 2024.

Local News

FILE - A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference, April 28, 2015,...

Associated Press

Microsoft will pay $20M to settle U.S. charges of illegally collecting children’s data

Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children

6 hours ago

gas stovetops...

Heather Bosch

WA Rep. maintains fervent push to keep gas stovetops unregulated

U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse introduced a bill on Monday to block the new Department of Energy conservation standards for gas stovetops.

1 day ago

missing girl Cle Elum river...

KIRO Newsradio Newsdesk

Missing 10-year-old girl found alive near Cle Elum River

A 10-year-old girl who was missing near the Cle Elum River for nearly 30 hours was found alive Monday afternoon.

1 day ago

Caleb Heimlich...

Bill Kaczaraba

WA State Republican chair Caleb Heimlich stepping down

The chair of the Washington state Republican party, Caleb Heimlich, is stepping down effective August 12th.

1 day ago

Garfield High...

Frank Sumrall

Garfield HS the focus of school safety precautions following nearby violence

Garfield High School and Nova High School both had its students return on campus in person Monday after locking down the campus last week.

1 day ago

Burien encampment moved park...

Sam Campbell

Burien encampment moved again, now located at city park

A homeless encampment in downtown Burien is being cleared after a struggle between the city, county, and residents who want it gone.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Passenger ‘misuse’ biggest cause of light-rail escalator failure, Sound Transit says