Calgary Transit station escalator outages irk regular customers

Dalhousie CTrain station escalator out of order for more than a month say riders

Dalhousie station customers are forced to take the stairs because the escalators are often down, as seen on March 19. ALEX HAMILTON/LIVEWIRE

The Dalhousie CTrain station has become notorious among riders for its out-of-service escalators, but the City of Calgary says that its maintenance is on schedule.

Stephen Tauro, with Calgary Transit, said in a March 7 emailed statement that the escalators were down for scheduled refurbishments that were due to be finished on March 8.

However, as of the morning of March 25, the escalators were still being repaired, so LiveWire inquired about the delay.

“There was a minor electrical issue that was identified before the inspection that was scheduled for March 15. The contractor is fixing the issue and Transit is working with them to reschedule the final inspection,” a city spokesperson replied.

“It looks like it will most likely be on March 28.”

A review of social-media complaints to Calgary Transit shows that the station escalators have faced delayed repairs several times the last few years, with reports as far back as 2012.

Tauro said that all transit escalators are scheduled for regular maintenance monthly, taking about eight hours per escalator every 30 days. 

He also said that wear and tear causes the escalators to frequently become out of service.

“Units are frequently out of service due to either intentional or unintentional customer misuse, such as pressing the stop buttons or running to catch a train and tripping the lower landing safety switch,” Tauro said.

“During the winter months there are added rocks and ice melt which trip comb impact switches. When a switch is tripped and there is a potential for a safety issue, these units remain out of service until in-field service arrives from our maintenance provider.”

He said that the maintenance budget was part of the entire station building costs.

The City of Calgary’s 2019-2022 budget plan proposes to “do less of building and major facility management.”

“Given the limited availability of capital funds, first priority will be given to ensure the system is safe while other priorities like infrastructure improvements may be delayed leading to less reliable service,” read the plan.

The plan proposed spending $13.9 million on total transit maintenance.

Interviewed at the Dalhousie station, passenger Dorian Ryan said that the escalators had been down since he moved to the area a month ago.

“I always take the stairs, but it makes it inconvenient, because it’s crowded every rush hour,” said Ryan.

Another rider, Spencer Thomas, said having to use the stairs made it inconvenient to take the train to work every day.

  • With files from Darren Krause

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