MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – After riders voiced frustration over broken elevators and escalators at Miami Metromover stations, the elevator company responsible for maintaining them is defending its work after county officials said they’re looking for a new vendor.
It also turns out that the elevator and escalator issues extend beyond the county’s transit system and into the airport.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, in a Tuesday news conference, placed the responsibility for the Metromover issues on Schindler, the Swiss elevator and escalator company the county contracts with for maintenance.
“They have made some proposals for replacement of elevators,” Levine Cava said. “We have to look at if that’s the best course. Obviously, that’s a huge capital investment.”
Following Local 10′s story Tuesday, Schindler issued a statement explaining its side of the story:
“As a leader in the elevator and escalator industry, Schindler takes matters involving equipment reliability and accessibility very seriously and is committed to the safety of the equipment, our workers and the riding public.
We understand the vital role this equipment plays in the daily lives of the passengers who use the Metromover system every day and we have been actively working alongside our partners Miami-Dade Transit and the Department of Transportation and Public Works to provide the best service possible. Currently, more than 95 percent of the transit equipment under Schindler’s maintenance is operating in good working order.
The majority of elevators and escalators throughout the Metromover system, including all three escalators at Adrienne Arsht Station, were manufactured and installed by several different companies nearly 40 years ago and are well past their useful life. In addition to its age, this equipment is situated outdoors and is directly exposed to harsh environmental conditions which have led to severe corrosion and other damage. Schindler has recommended the county undertake a modernization effort for much of this problematic and aging equipment.
The three escalators at Adrienne Arsht Station are beyond repair. Two of these units have been slated for demolition by the county and Schindler has recommended full replacement of the third escalator and is awaiting the county’s decision to initiate a formal bidding process.
The one elevator at Adrienne Arsht Station experienced a rupture to its underground hydraulic line which is actively under repair. This is an intensive effort requiring multiple vendors to fence, trench, and reroute these underground lines. Despite this complexity, we have moved quickly and collaboratively to return the equipment to service as quickly as possible, which we anticipate no later than May 26 in time for the Memorial Day holiday.”Schindler statement
“Do I see it getting better? I can’t say that on the transit system, yet,” Levine Cava said Tuesday.
Officials at the Miami International Airport are dealing with their own issues. Around half of the county’s elevators and escalators are at the airport.
The good news: most of the 200 elevators, 300 escalators and 100 moving walkways are in working order. But around 50 aren’t.
“It’s a challenge but the percentages are low, and the numbers are coming down over the last couple of weeks,” airport CEO Ralph Cutie said.
Cutie noted that the airport has “more wear and tear on all of our units than any other county department has just because of our size.”
When it comes to financing repairs and replacements, things work a little differently at the airport, because there’s no taxpayer money involved — it all comes from airport revenue.
Officials said there’s a modernization program underway to hopefully get what’s broken working within the next year.