Maintaining station elevators and escalators is a national effort

Posted on November 21, 2013 by Heather Redfern - Also by this author

For some public transit riders, the first mode of travel they take every day is not a transit authority’s trains or buses, but rather the elevators and escalators to get to a station’s platforms or vehicles. And to keep them moving, elevators and escalators require as much attention as an organization’s fleet.

Where some transit organizations outsource escalator and elevator repairs to third party contractors, other agencies like Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), New York City Transit (NYCT) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) have brought the work in-house, with their own dedicated mechanics, trained by the organizations.

“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”

Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor, demonstrates the mock-ups SEPTA uses in its training facility.
Alex Rosmondo, SEPTA mechanical maintenance manager and instructor, demonstrates the mock-ups SEPTA uses in its training facility.

To prepare employees for working on the people movers, SEPTA, as well as WMATA and NYCT, created labs to give mechanics hands-on experience with the equipment.  

“We can’t take elevators and escalators in the field out of service to train our apprentices and incumbent mechanics,” said Rosmondo. “Our facility allows our team to participate in simulation training on hydraulic and electrical mock-ups, with parts they will find in the field.”  

SEPTA’s training facility will also be outfitted with a full-size demonstration escalator and elevator with real-life functionality.

“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Rosmondo. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”
“Elevators and escalators take a lot of abuse,” said Rosmondo. “The equipment operates around the clock, in places where they are exposed to the elements or prone to acts of vandalism. Having our own crews allows us to stay on top of the elevators and escalators with daily, weekly, monthly and annual inspections.”

“Utilizing our in-house resources has been extremely beneficial for SEPTA,” said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s Deputy GM. “We have the ability to respond to equipment issues quickly, which in turn has resulted in solid elevator and escalator reliability numbers.”  

Not only does SEPTA work on its own elevator and escalator training and upkeep but, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set forth by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). The project is administered by the Transportation Learning Center and supported with matching funds from the Federal Transit Administration. Joining SEPTA, WMATA and NYCT in the consortium are Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and their union partners.

SEPTA, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set by APTA.
SEPTA, as part of an industry-wide consortium, collaborates with transit authorities across the country on the development of a national Transit Elevator/Escalator Maintenance Training and Apprenticeship Program adhering to standards set by APTA.

The consortium was established in 2009 out of necessity. "New technology, like digital controls, combined with many current technicians nearing retirement age, meant that SEPTA and other agencies needed more training,” said Jack Clark, deputy director of the Transportation Learning Center. “Add to that the accessibility requirements for riders with disabilities and increasing needs for accessibility in an aging ridership, and the training needs become acute. The Consortium represented the first national effort to build the skills of the transit elevator/escalator technicians instead of relying on outside vendors.”

Ed LaGuardia, SEPTA’s recently retired chief engineering officer of bridges & buildings, was a national leader in transit elevator and escalator maintenance and played an instrumental role in gathering key people to be involved in the consortium and define industry training standards.

“In addition to Ed’s expertise, we are fortunate to have the unprecedented cooperation of labor and management,” said Clark. “We have union and management representatives working together to develop the program. It’s been a good experience.”

To date, the consortium has more than 30 courses designed and used in pilots for the three-year apprentice program. Rosmondo is a member of the consortium’s Course Development Team.

“Working with agencies across the country has been helpful. We all share similar experiences and face the same challenges even though we are in different parts of the country,” Rosmondo said. “We can share ideas. The resources are out there for us to do our jobs even better.”

In case you missed it...

Read our METRO blog, "'Why transit should pay attention to Uber"

View comments or post a comment on this story. (3 Comments)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

February 6, 2015

Technology and Transportation: Change at High Speed

As the world changes with the rapid advancement of connected devices and technologies, so must the transportation industry. In a business area where change is sluggish, DOTs across the country must adapt quickly to the evolving technologies that are going to impact their operations and budget. There are at least three technologies that will have immense impact over the next two decades on how we travel and how state transportation departments react to provide mobility — connectedness, big data and automation.

January 26, 2015

Tapping Transit Hubs as Inspirational Art Spaces

Around the world, artwork of all forms adorns transportation centers, stations and bus shelters. While many of these statues, paintings, mosaics and sculptures are permanently installed as part of a station’s architecture, transportation organizations can use their spaces for art exhibitions that not only make transit hubs more aesthetically pleasing for commuters, but also inspire budding artists. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) recently partnered with two organizations to showcase the artistic talent of youth from the Greater Philadelphia region and around the world. 

December 15, 2014

Lost and Found on Public Transit and Hopefully Reunited

One might think with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and passengers carrying more packages than usual on buses, trains and trolleys, transit organizations’ lost and found departments could be busier than usual. For large authorities like the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the lost and found bins are often full throughout the year, not just during the Christmas season.

December 5, 2014

Time is On Our Side With Automated Vehicles

A man climbs into the cab of a tractor trailer, hauling himself into the massive driver’s seat and shutting the door behind him as if settling into a captain’s chair.

The steering wheel is massive, evoking the wheel of a mighty sailing ship even at it protruds from a dashboard covered in electronic controls and sleek digital displays. The driver engages the engine and, with a few button presses, the truck rumbles to life.

Watching the scenery pass by out the driver’s side window

November 20, 2014

Engaging Young Riders is Key to Transit’s Continued Growth

The number of younger people getting drivers’ licenses has continually declined since 1996 and that adults between the ages of 20 to 30 are more likely to stay in cities rather than move to suburbs, according to the United States Public Interest Research Group. This data, then, would indicate that the millennial generation (the largest generation) is a major contributor to the surge in ridership transportation organizations across the country are experiencing.
See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (3)

Please sign in or register to .    Close