Bronx MTA escalators are often out of service or lag behind other boroughs in performance

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Out of service MTA escalators in the Bronx, like the one pictured from 2021, are more common in the borough than others areas of New York City.
Photo Robbie Sequeira

Miesha Griffin relies on the Parkchester 6 train to get her to City Hall for work, the last stop on the 38-station service line. But Griffin said an out of service escalator — under maintenance until late May — at the elevated Parkchester station platform has been a major hurdle for patrons who rely on it for every day or accessibility use.

“It’s a damn shame, to be honest,” said Griffin, 42, a municipal worker. “It’s a big station, and the alternative when the escalator is down is to hike up three to four flights of steps. I have bad knees and joints, I can’t do that every weekday without being in serious pain.”

The Parkchester Station isn’t the only Bronx escalator that is non-operational or down for repairs, as the borough has had the lowest-performing escalators in the MTA system since December 2021 with those escalators lagging behind peer boroughs.

From March 2021 to March 2022, the performance rate of Bronx transit escalators has dipped from 91% operationality to 80%. Systemwide, which consists of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, transit escalators operate at a 96% clip, according to MTA dashboard metrics.

The performance and functionality of Bronx MTA escalators has dipped since December 2021. MTA New York City Transit/Marc A. Hermann

Joana Flores, an MTA spokesperson told the Bronx Times that four escalators including ones sited at the Pelham Bay Park, Pelham Parkway and Intervale stations are out for capital replacement, with the latter having returned back into service on April 27. There are plans, boroughwide, to upgrade escalators at most Bronx stations, according to the MTA spokesperson.

The Bronx only has 12 escalators within the MTA transit system compared to 34 in Brooklyn, 44 in Queens, and 185 in Manhattan.

In all, NYC Transit — including Staten Island — is in charge of 233 escalators and 294 elevators, with $810 million dedicated for transit escalator replacements in the 2020-2024 Capital Program.

“The MTA is committed to improving escalator reliability and availability throughout the transit system. Thanks to the MTA’s historic Capital Plan, work to replace the majority of the Bronx’s escalators is well underway, with four under construction right now.”

But for straphangers like Shareef Thompson, escalators and accessibility at Bronx stations have always been an evergreen concern, as he feels Bronx stations are neglected by the transit authority.

“I mean, we’ll have escalators out for months, and guess what, they usually won’t work any better than they did before they were shut down,” Thompson said.

Currently, 131 out of 472 stations are ADA-accessible citywide, or less than 28%, according to MTA’s most recent figures. The Bronx has 70 MTA stations, but only 15, roughly 21%, have full-ADA accessibility, which is the lowest in NYC.

The CITY in their reporting of Boogie Down transit escalator breakdowns found that the escalators in borough stations recorded 1,640 outages, with unscheduled breakdowns accounting for 86% of those outages in the Bronx.

“It seems like The Bronx gets the raw end of the deal more often,” said Jessica Murray, who advocates for improved transit system accessibility through the Rise and Resist Elevator Action Group.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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