MARTA users can expect to trudge up and down stairs in several stations after the agency announced that it would be shutting down more than half of its escalators because they were in need of repairs.
The agency conducted a mass inspection of the escalators in its stations after it was found that an employee of the maintenance contractor had bypassed security circuits at the Dunwoody Station. The employee also likely worked on numerous other escalators throughout the system. That led MARTA to announce that more than 100 of its 149 escalators would be shut down. Currently, 84 escalators are not in working condition. Most of those shutdowns are due to dangerous conditions such as broken steps and stairs, and dangerously wide gaps between the step and the skirting of the escalator.
None of this is good news for MARTA. The agency is already grappling with a $120 million budget deficit, and these inspections and the repairs that will be needed will not make things easier. The escalator inspections alone have cost more than $1 million. It is, however, good to see MARTA take the issue of escalator safety and injury prevention very seriously.
Jason Schultz is an injury lawyer in Atlanta helping victims of personal injury, including those injured in escalator accidents.