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SEATTLE — Sound Transit reported they have made major progress in getting the elevators and escalators in the downtown Seattle tunnel up and running again.
Sound Transit took over the project over two years ago, as 57 of 58 of the conveyances date back to 1990 when the tunnel first opened as a bus station.
When Sound Transit first started, 28 of 58 of the escalators and elevators were inoperable and after investing $8.7 million for upgrades, today all 28 are back in service, said Sound Transit in a news release on Thursday.
“Right now, our escalators are running at approximately 92% overall availability. That compares to just 30% when we took responsibility for the downtown stations,” said Sound Transit.
Link light rail riders were frustrated over the constant breakdowns.
Sound Transit said three conveyances suffered long-term outages because of mechanical failure, water intrusion, and vandalism, but repairs take a long time because aging equipment is hard to come by.
“We’ve been stepping up our game even more to improve performance. Instead of letting conveyances stay out of service overnight, we revised our contract with our service vendor,” said Sound Transit. “When we get notice that a conveyance isn’t working during business hours, a repair team responds within an hour. Outside of business hours and on weekends, the repair team responds within two hours. That gets equipment back online quicker.”
Sound Transit is also installing equipment on all 195 conveyances so they can monitor them in real time and can respond more quickly to a problem. It is also planning to make new station maps that give passengers alternate routes. But the biggest change will be replacing the old elevators and escalators in the downtown stations starting early next year, said Sound Transit.
But no matter the circumstances, Sound Transit wants commuters to know it is trying its best.
“We know that if you need an escalator or elevator and it’s not working, you’re still going to be frustrated. We are frustrated too. We want to provide you with the level of service you should have. We’re working hard to build on the success we’ve had so far to ensure that we reach that goal,” said Sound Transit.

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