Getaway

City replaces LRT escalators with fireman poles

Soon, people can say goodbye to escalators in transit stations closed for maintenance.

As a cost-cutting measure, the City of Edmonton will begin dismantling escalators at every transit station and replacing them with fireman poles. City spokesperson Blargey Lane said the decision was made after analyzing the costs of maintaining the escalators. It was found that since the escalators were so frequently closed for repairs throughout the year, the city had accumulated nearly $2 billion in costs.

Two poles will be installed at every station. One pole will be available for people to slide down to the LRT platform from ground level. The other pole will feature a small rocket engine at the base of the pole to propel commuters up from the platform to ground level at a speed of 45 mph.

“By ripping out all the escalators and replacing them with poles, we’d be saving a good deal of taxpayer’s money that would’ve gone to perpetually repairing those shitty escalators,” Lane said.

Last month, a study conducted by the city found that the escalators were so prone to malfunction, that they were out of service nearly 78 per cent of the time. Lane hopes that the poles will have a higher rate of efficiency than current LRT escalators.

Dismantling all the escalators in every station will begin on April 30, but the city expects the process to take half a year to complete. Lane said the six-month duration of the project will protect ETS’s reputation of taking forever to get things done.

Anne Fergus, a second-year arts student who takes the LRT from Corona Station to get to campus everyday, said it always irritated her how frequently the escalators seemed to be broken, especially at University Station. She added that while the firepoles seemed like a “questionable” idea, it’s easily more reliable than the escalators thanks to the “low bar” they’ve set.

“It really felt like the escalator was down for repairs every darn day,” she said. “I’m not sold on the pole idea but anything is better than what we already have to deal with.”

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