Metro Commuters, Rejoice!
Long-awaited repair of Bethesda Metro escalators is complete; escalators from train platform to ticket area are back online.
They're baaaack. And we're not talking about ghouls here – WMATA has a decidedly less scary surprise for Bethesda Metro riders as they embark on their morning commute today.
The escalators from the train platform to the ticket area, which have been out of service for months, are back in service as of Friday. The outage, caused by a scheduled rehabilitation project, has been long-bemoaned by Metro riders who had to use a single, stationary escalator to enter and exit the train platform area. The bottleneck caused large crowds at rush hour and lots of frustration for riders.
Though final completion dates for the project have been pushed back, Metro most recently told the community they expected the project to be completed Monday. The escalators were in fact back online a bit earlier – around 11a.m. Friday, in time for the evening rush.
Friday evening, commuters praised the project's completion, but at the same time, many wondered what took WMATA so long.
"Hallelujah," said Bethesda resident Sujai Shivakumar, returning home from work in Washington, D.C. after a Metro trip. "Today is the first time in my recent memory that all of the escalators were working."
Shivakumar said riders were left with a sense of exasperation with how long the escalators were taking to be rehabilitated. "I take the Metro every day to work and back, and most of the time, you don't see anybody working on the escalators," Shivakumar said.
Metro has said that many escalator projects have taken a long time to complete because companies that provided parts when the escalators were installed years ago have gone out of business or no longer make escalators.
"It's a good thing," said Chevy Chase resident Steve Bokat of the project's completion. "There are plenty of people who have disabilities and the elevators are insufficient to accommodate those who can't walk very well."
However, Bokat didn't show too much surprise about the time the project has taken to complete. "It's been a consistent problem throughout the system that's been going on for years," Bokat said. "It's nothing new."
The escalator outage has been one item of discussion between Metro and Bethesda community leaders, who have been meeting to discuss cleaning and beautifying the Bethesda station.