Photo Courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin
According to the comptroller, approximately 80 percent of sampled MTA elevators and escalators did not receive all of their scheduled preventive maintenance service assignments.
By Forum Staff
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority did not perform all scheduled preventive maintenance on nearly 80 percent of sampled escalators and elevators, and one-third of the agency’s scheduled preventive maintenance assignments in the sample were completed late – if at all, a new audit released on Monday by City Comptroller Scott Stringer revealed.
Additionally, according to the analysis, the MTA does not systematically track whether and how quickly all of the defects found in its elevators and escalators are corrected.
“New Yorkers constantly see and experience broken elevators and escalators – and this audit shows us why it’s happening,” Stringer said. “Preventive maintenance is late or not happening at all, and when defects are identified, work orders aren’t always created. It’s not rocket science – it’s common-sense. If we aren’t proactively servicing these machines, and if we aren’t repairing them when we find problems, they’re going to break down. When seniors and people with disabilities can’t get to where they need to go because of a broken elevator or escalator, government is failing them. This audit isn’t just about basic maintenance. It should be a reminder that behind every broken machine, behind every motionless escalator or elevator, there are people who can’t travel. There are New Yorkers who can’t make it to a job interview or doctor’s appointment. It’s unfair – and it’s gone on for far too long. It must get fixed.”
The Comptroller’s Office sampled 36 elevators and 29 escalators throughout the five boroughs – a total of 65 machines – and found that:
Approximately 80 percent of the elevators and escalators did not receive all of their scheduled preventive maintenance service assignments;
21 of the 65 machines – or 32 percent of the sample – failed one or more of the MTA’s own inspections and were removed from service to address the safety defects;
15 of the 21 machines that failed inspection had been serviced approximately two weeks before the inspection;
Those 15 machines had 62 defects that remained pending even after they were serviced.
The 65 sampled elevators and escalators should have received 849 scheduled preventive maintenance services during an 18-month period the Comptroller’s Office audited. However, Stringer noted, of those 849 preventive maintenance assignments:
34 percent – 289 of the 849 assignments sampled – were not completed on time or at all;
164 maintenance assignments performed, or 22 percent, were not completed on time. The vast majority were late, by 15 days on average, with 60 taking even longer;
21 maintenance assignments were not completed at all.
104 maintenance assignments were canceled (with an explanatory memo on file). However, 32 of those memos did not meet the MTA’s own criteria for canceling preventive maintenance.
To correct the wide range of shortcomings in the MTA’s preventive maintenance regimen, Stringer’s Office made 13 recommendations, including setting realistic internal targets for preventive maintenance service assignments, reinstructing all personnel on their responsibilities for completing and approving checklists, and instituting rigorous procedures for ensuring work orders are created and every defect identified is addressed.