Report: DC Metro escalators are just cleverly disguised "surprise stairs" 

No, it's not just another extension of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign -- according to a new report, D.C. Metro's escalators are  breaking down more frequently and take longer to repair, according to The Examiner's own Kytja Weir:

The average time between failures has shrunk, meaning escalators broke down more frequently in 2010 than either of the two prior years, according to the report. Escalators lasted an average of about 153 hours of service before breaking down. In 2009 and 2008 the escalators lasted an average of 172 hours and 178 hours before breakdowns.

Metro also is taking longer to fix the escalators when they fail, the report showed. In 2008, it took Metro just under 10 hours on average to fix a broken escalator. But in 2010, the average had crept up to 14 hours.

These are not escalators, see. They're "surprise stairs." While riding them, you can get the nice surprise of getting piled in a heap. Or, you can just get a work out. Who knows? It's kind of like the lottery!

Escalators inside stations operated for almost twice as long as uncovered ones at station exits. All outdoor escalators were supposed to have canopies, but Metro ran out of money, so not all stations have the covers, which help keep leaves, snow and rain off the staircases.

Metro has resumed installing some canopies above particularly troublesome escalators. Crews are working on a one-year, $6 million project to add a canopy and new escalators to the Foggy Bottom stop.

Yes, America. We have indoor "escalators" (whoops, I mean "surprise stairs") outside that, shocker, suffer mechanical failures all the time. And those surprise stairs, by the way, include the Dupont Circle North exit, with 319 steps. You basically have to climb 188 feet to get to the top. The lack of canopy in the winter means that you have to deal with ice and wet leaves while en route, making it also a "surprise slip'n slide." Shackleton never had it so tough.

If you think this sounds crazy it is. Can't they just put up temporary tents that would at least block the elements? We can at least call them "surprise tents."

About The Author

J.P. Freire

J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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