On March 29, Metro will introduce the system’s two newest escalators at Van Ness Station, the tenth and eleventh new escalators to be installed under the Metro Forward rebuilding program.
The two new escalators serve the entrance of Van Ness Station on the east side of Connecticut Ave and replace outdated units that were installed when the station first opened in 1981. The reliability of the original units had decreased dramatically over time and as such, Metro engineers determined that a full replacement of the escalators was necessary.
The Van Ness project marks the first two escalators under a contract with KONE Corporation to fully replace up to 128 escalators by 2020. New escalators are currently being installed at five stations: Georgia Ave, Columbia Heights, Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Mt Vernon Square.
Under Metro Forward, new escalators have already been installed at Foggy Bottom (3), Dupont Circle (3), and Pentagon (3).
In addition to the escalator replacement projects, Metro has already "rehabilitated" to "like new" condition more than 100 escalators across the system under Metro Forward. Rehabilitation projects result in the replacement of all critical parts, including the escalator's steps, handrails, motors, controllers, chains, and other moving parts.
As a result of the replacement and rehabilitation efforts, combined with an enhanced maintenance regimen, Metro has achieved some of the highest escalator availability scores in recent memory. Availability averaged 92.2 percent in 2013, up 3 percent from the prior year, and the best performance since 2010. Metro’s comprehensive availability measure reflects the percentage of time that all escalators in stations are in service during operating hours, even those intentionally unavailable due to modernization.