MIAMI – Broken elevators and escalators, sitting dormant for months, long past the dates they were supposed to be repaired, are plaguing Miami’s Metromover system, seriously inconveniencing riders, especially those with disabilities.
That includes riders like Leroy Jenkins, who uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. The elevator he’d use at the Adrienne Arsht Center station has been out for the past two weeks, so he’s had to use a convoluted alternative to get on the train.
“I have to take a bus from here, all the way down to Third Street,” he said. “I get on the mover there.”
It’s not just the elevator. The station’s escalator has been broken since October.
And it’s not just the Adrienne Arsht Center station. The elevator leading to the northbound tracks at the Fifth Street station, high above Brickell, has been out for a year — it was supposed to be repaired by March.
As frustrations mount, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava held a news conference Tuesday to address the issue.
“I share the frustration,” Levine Cava said.
The county operates the free, 20-station people mover system, which first opened in 1986 and carries about 20,000 riders daily, according to the most recent estimate.
But the elevator and escalator service issues also extend to stations on the county’s Metrorail system, as well as beyond mass transit, to include the airport and county-owned buildings.
According to the county’s website, which provides status updates on the myriad broken elevators and escalators, elevators are broken at two Metrorail stations and three Metromover stations, while escalators are down at two Metrorail stations and five Metromover stations.
The mayor is chalking up the problems to the county’s outside vendor. She said Schindler, the company responsible for repairs, keeps shifting its timelines and has parts on back order.
Levine Cava said the county is looking for a new vendor and said bids are going out.
“It does seem to be a problem that is beyond just what is happening to us, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not addressing it aggressively,” she said.
In the meantime, riders like Jenkins are forced to contend with obstacles as they try to move from point A to point B.
“I don’t know what they’re doing with the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Local 10 News did not get a response from Schindler while seeking comment Tuesday.
Levine Cava said county staff are expected to meet with company representatives Wednesday.
In the meantime, some parts have to be totally replaced, meaning service could be down for quite some time to come.