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NY Subway System Sees Increase in Number of Passengers Stuck in Elevators

Nearly a month ago, we discussed an article regarding the amount of wait time for elevators in various cities. The study indicated that workers in some of the largest cities, such as New York, may wait up to 16 years for an elevator, based on a study of nearly 6,500 office workers. While, on the surface, this was an indication of the age and condition of the building, are such statistics and associations reflected in other situations and places in which elevators are utillitized?

This relationship appears to be mirrored in New York’s subway system. Although many New York subway stations were built or improved during the 1990s (many Manhattan office buildings, on the other hand, are more than 50-years-old), 2010 saw an increase in the amount of people stuck in subway elevators.

A few weeks ago, for example, passengers were stuck in the elevator for Washington Heights station for over an hour. Once the passengers were rescued, five out of 12 needed to be treated for heat exhaustion. This is not terribly surprising, as the platform for the Washington Heights station is one of the most deeply-set below ground and can only be accessed by elevator.

Furthermore, this isn’t an isolated incident., According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the first three months of 2010 saw 91 incidents of passengers stuck in subway elevators. Passengers typically remain there for over an hour (42 hours in one incident) until help arrives. Even with newer elevators – although many of these will be approaching the 20-year mark soon – these incidents in New York aren’t uncommon, and 2010’s 18-percent increase in these occurreances is a strong sign that experts involved with the subway system need to determine the underlying factors contributing to or responsible for these events.

After all, if you compound the time that those commuting to work wait for and possibly get stuck in (commuter-based) elevators with the statistics for elevator wait times in office buildings, cited above, a group of workers in New York could well end up waiting for over two decades for elevators to arrive.


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