CHICAGO (CBS) — Some 750,000 people take CTA trains to get around Chicago every weekday, but just getting to the platform often can be a challenge for some riders.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory dug into CTA records to find out how often elevators at train stations are out of service.
At the Chicago stop on the Brown Line alone, CTA records showed 52 elevator issues last year; essentially, once a week.
Systemwide, crews logged 1,852 elevator incidents in 2018. Overall, the CTA has only 171 elevators at ‘L’ stations.
“I’ve been late to meetings before because of elevator outages,” said Adam Ballard, a housing and transportation policy analyst for Access Living, an advocacy group for the disabled.
Ballard’s wheelchair racks up lots of mileage from constant rerouting when out of service signs pop up at CTA rail station elevators, the only way for him to reach platforms at the vast majority of ‘L’ stops.
“Depending on which elevator is out, it can add anywhere from just a few minutes to a half hour to my commute,” he said.
The day of our interview was no exception. The Clark/Lake elevator went down on Feb. 23, and was still out of service as of April 8, according to the CTA’s website.
“I can’t get on the Brown Line here at all, or the Green Line,” Ballard said.
Reasons for elevators going out of service include more than 600 calls for door issues, more than 400 reports of an elevator stuck, and about 170 requests related to detainment/entrapment.
Repairs often mention debris and resets.
CTA records show most elevator problems are fixed in about a day. A handful take a couple weeks, but at Merchandise Mart, the most-used Brown Line stop, an elevator took two full months to repair.
“To the CTA’s credit, I think they do try. It’s just a large, old system,” Ballard said.
Accessibility alerts are posted online, and at each affected station, but Ballard said the whiteboards at each station have been wrong before.
The CTA said the whiteboards at its stations are only intended to be a supplement to more up-to-date outage information found online.