When is an escalator outage on Metro listed as an actual outage?
All four entrance escalators at the Tenleytown stop were out of service Monday morning. Metro reported the outage at 10:47 a.m. on Twitter, blaming a mechanical problem. Metro then tweeted at 11:59 a.m. that escalator service had been restored.
But during that time, Metro's website showed only one escalator out of service, said Lee Mendelowitz, who runs the MetroEscalators Twitter account that tracks outages using the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's own electronic data stream.
"I find it troubling that four escalators can be broken for a few hours during the morning rush hour such that WMATA knows about the outage (as evidenced by their tweets), but the escalators never make it onto the official list of broken escalators," Mendelowitz wrote in an email to The Washington Examiner.
Later in the afternoon commute, the same escalators were out again, according to riders. But only one outage showed up online.
The transit agency has said that it has been doing better with escalator service, with five consecutive months beating its own perfomance target of 89 percent of escalators available. But Mendelowitz said the Tenleytown discrepancy shows that the escalator reliability key performance indicator is inaccurate.
Metro did not immediately comment Monday afternoon about the discrepancy in the reported data.