Bureau of Audit
Audit Report On New York City Transit Efforts To Inspect, Repair And Maintain Elevators And Escalators
July 23, 2010
AUDIT REPORT IN BRIEF
This audit determined the adequacy of the New York City Transit’s (NYCT) efforts to maintain, inspect, and repair subway station elevators and escalators used by the public.
The NYCT is the largest agency in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s regional transportation network. NYCT operates 27 subway lines that connect 468 active stations throughout four of the City’s five boroughs. The NYCT subway serves an average of 4.5 million riders daily. To enable passengers with physical mobility impairments to access the subway and to facilitate the movement of passengers through the system, elevators and escalators are installed at specific stations considered to benefit the most people, based on such factors as high ridership, presence of transfer points, and service to major areas of activity. As of September 23, 2009, there were 182 elevators and 176 escalators available to the public at stations throughout the City.
The NYCT Division of Infrastructure’s Elevator and Escalator Department (EED) is responsible for ensuring that all elevators and escalators in subway stations and other NYCT facilities are clean, safe, and reliable. Specifically, the EED is responsible for inspecting and maintaining all elevators and escalators in NYCT facilities in safe operating order. This audit addressed only those station elevators and escalators available for use by the public.
Audit Findings and Conclusions
Our audit disclosed weaknesses and inefficiencies that inhibit and, at times, render inadequate EED efforts to maintain, inspect, and repair all station elevators and escalators.
While the NYCT EED has a comprehensive program for the operation of subway station elevators and escalators, it does not ensure that all required preventive maintenance (PM) service and scheduled maintenance system (SMS) work is consistently performed. Our review revealed that more than one-fourth of the scheduled PM service assignments for our sampled equipment were not performed. In addition, SMS work was not consistently performed or appropriately documented.
Our review of NYCT inspection records for calendar years 2008 and 2009 revealed that a significant portion of required inspections were performed. However, five-year safety tests were lacking. We noted that for both 2008 and 2009 the actual number of inspections performed fell short of the annual inspection goal, with the gap growing from 2008 to 2010.
Regarding its repair and maintenance of escalators and elevators, NYCT does not have sufficient credible data by which it can adequately assess its performance. Based on NYCT quarterly availability data for calendar year 2009, NYCT reported nearly meeting its elevator and escalator availability goals. However, our review indicated that not all outages were recorded in the Elevator and Escalator Reporting and Maintenance System (EERMS), raising questions about the reliability of the performance figures. Additionally, we found that the system used to record and track equipment outages may not be functioning properly, and EED did not ensure that it retained evidence of maintenance and repair work performed. For our sampled equipment, we found no open work orders for Type A (hazardous) deficiencies. However, there were open work orders for Type B and Type C deficiencies and defects that the EED did not address for an average of 153 days (ranging from 125 to 172 days), as of April 26, 2010.
Finally, our review revealed certain internal control weaknesses; specifically, that EED lacks formal operating procedures and that it needs to strengthen the supervisory oversight and monitoring of its work crews.
To address these issues, we make 17 recommendations, among them that NYCT should:
- Ensure that required PM and SMS work is performed and supported by PM and SMS work reports that are signed off both by the work teams and their respective supervisors.
- For each elevator and escalator, keep track of and investigate repeated periods of nonperformance of PM and SMS work.
- Immediately perform the five-year safety tests on elevators that were scheduled but not tested in 2008 and 2009.
- Ensure that all required documentation reflecting work performed by field crews (inspection, PM and SMS reports and machine room logs) are completed by work crews and retained. Also, require that some record of repair crews’ completed work assignments be regularly maintained.