NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A new audit finds the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hasn’t been conducting all the scheduled preventative maintenance on its escalators and elevators.

Comptroller Scott Stringer’s audit reviewed 65 escalators and elevators in the city’s subway system and found that nearly 80 percent had not received scheduled maintenance and only one-third were completed or done at all.

“When you don’t do preventive maintenance, when you don’t give your machines the tune ups on time, there’s a logical outcome — they break down,” Stringer said.

LINK: Read The Full Audit

Stringer said when problems are caught, “The MTA is supposed to have a work order for every new defect found, but our auditors discovered that in many, many cases those work orders are never even created.”

With more than 400 escalators and elevators in the system citywide, it’s more than just an inconvenience for people like Edith Prentiss, from the organization Disabled in Action. She’s confined to a wheelchair, and advocates for the disabled.

“In the old days the fire department used to carry us out,” she told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.

“You may be frail,” Stringer said, “you may have a disability, and you are literally stranded in the subway system.”

State Sen. Daniel Squadron said when they’re broken, they stay broken.

“Not for weeks, not for months, but in some cases for years,” Squadron said.


Wheelchair-bound Sasha Blair Goldensohn said it’s always a challenge.

“But at times when you’re really in a rush and have to get somewhere you appeal to your fellow subway rider and say, ‘Can you guys help me up the stairs?'” he said.

Advocates say an audit such as this is all well and good, but will it actually lead to positive changes?

In its response to the audit, the MTA disputed the results and maintained its spending $1 billion to make more subway stations accessible and replace older elevators and escalators, but MTA officials would not go on camera to answer CBS2’s questions about the maintenance program.

“If you don’t fix the elevators, people are not going to be using the subways,” Prentiss said. It’s very important to know that we travel, we work, we do all of those things.”

At some stations, that’s nearly impossible if you can’t take the stairs.

The MTA admits only one quarter of the 469 subway stations citywide are fully accessible for disabled passengers.


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