For the past eight-and-a-half months, passengers who use Metro's busy Dupont Circle station have had to cope with the closure of one of the two entrances, the south entrance.
That ended Saturday afternoon, when, with no fanfare, the entrance reopened.
In recent years, Metro has been plagued by increasing breakdowns of its hundreds of escalators, many of which went into service when the transit system opened in
1976. Stan Rastonis, who hails from Crystal City, told us, "You know, I've lived here since the early 90's, in the D.C. area, and it seems like -- at least any time of day -- at least half of these escalators are out of commission."
It's actually not nearly that bad. In fact, in June of this year, more than 90% of Metro's escalators were working, and that's a big improvement from the 82% that were working in June of 2011.
Metro has changed its strategy. At some stations, escalators were in such poor shape, Metro has taken them out of service and completely replaced them. To do that, at Dupont Circle, Metro had to close the south entrance of the station for eight and a half months.
The north entrance remained open, but that's an extra three block walk for many customers. "That's an extra, you know, five minutes early that you could be at work, or five minutes of sleeping," Caitlin Paul told us with a laugh.
On Saturday, contractors spent much of the morning pulling down the eight-foot tall plywood fencing that has surrounded the south entrance at Dupont Circle for eight and a half months.
After a little sprucing-up the get rid of the construction grime, at 2:45 in the afternoon, Metro quietly opened the south entrance at Dupont Circle. Katie Dunn was among the first people up the new escalators. "It was kind of inconvenient not having this escalator here," Dunn told us. "I go to Dupont [Circle] all the time, so it's so exciting that this is here, now. I love it."
The three escalators at the station's south entrance are made by the Schindler Company, and Metro says they are more of an "industrial design." Managers believe, if maintained properly, they should last as long as 30 years.
The escalators at the north end of Dupont Circle also need rehabilitation, but transit officials believe they will not have to shut down the entrance to accomplish those repairs.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
Didn't find what you were looking for?