Elevator and Escalator Outages

Location Direction Expected In-Service Date
Dalhousie Station -  escalator Up TBD

What’s up when our escalators are down

Monitoring and maintaining 33 escalators across our 45 CTrain stations is a big job. When escalators are out of service for periods of time we understand that it’s inconvenient – but there is always a reason for the closure. Read on to find out what’s up when our escalators are down.

Main reasons for escalators out of service

The reasons for escalator shutdowns can be classified into three categories:

  1. Customer misuse – accounts for ~70% of shutdowns

    Customer misuse can include everything from jumping on the escalator, sitting on the railing, running up/down stairs, brushing shoes on the bristles (skirt) on the edge of a moving escalator, misusing the emergency stop button and falling down the escalator. Our escalators have fail safes, so if customers misuse them the escalator will stop and usually cannot be restarted until a technician visits the site.

    Did you know?
     Every time a customer falls on an escalator the unit must be shut down and inspected, which could take up to three days. The majority of customers who fall on our escalators are intoxicated.

    Did you know?
     The safest way to use an escalator is to stand on a step and hold the handrail. If everyone did that we would eliminate the majority of escalator shutdowns.

  2. Environmental factors – accounts for ~15% of shutdowns

    Winter weather is hard on our escalators. On cold days thousands of customers bring ice and gravel pellets into our stations on the bottom of their shoes. These materials get into the escalator combs and can cause them to clog. Each station has pedestrian mats at the doors that catch gravel, ice, debris and dirt, but at older stations these mats are smaller and do not catch as much material as larger mats at newer stations. Regardless, some material always makes its way into the escalators.

    Did you know?
     Every spring we do an annual clean of every escalator on our system, which includes pressure washing them. We start in May and finish by August.

  3. Mechanical issues, maintenance, inspections or audits – accounts for ~15% of shutdowns

    In order to keep our elevators safe and reliable, regular maintenance and inspections are required. Safety audits are done quarterly and inspections are done annually.

    Did you know?
     Each month 10% of our escalators are audited and it’s random. An audit can take 8-12 hours and requires the escalator to be shut down during that time.


Monitoring our escalators

In 2019 we installed a new system that monitors the status of escalators and elevators at every CTrain station. The system tells us when and why a unit is down, allowing us to quickly respond and dispatch technicians right away. In 2023 we plan to launch a pilot project where we post the status of our escalators and elevators on our website and app so customers can know in advance if any are out of service.

Since the system was installed the data shows that on average our escalators are operational 85% of the time. Escalators tend to be down more often in the winter when environmental factors contribute more to closures.

Did you know?

Our security team can view every unit from a CCTV camera in our Operations Control Centre. In the event of a customer incident they will remotely stop the escalator, contact emergency services if required, inform Transit Peace Officers, get CCTV footage of the incident, and dispatch maintenance to barricade the escalator until it can be inspected.



Why do some escalators take longer to repair than others?

Escalators that are not in service may require parts that have become difficult to source resulting in longer than expected outages. Some escalators also require a provincial inspection before they can go back into service. 

I see an escalator that isn’t working, why isn’t it on the list?

There are certain instances, such as with minor repairs, where escalator issues can be quickly resolved and back into service within the day; these typically won’t appear on the outages list. Only escalators that are expected to require more than a week of maintenance are placed on the list.

I see that an escalator is out of service, but it’s not being worked on. How long will it take before Calgary Transit is aware that it requires maintenance?

You can be sure that maintenance is coming to fix the issue since our PS100 cameras will detect an outage as it happens.

What are other reasons that the escalator isn’t working?

Escalators are expected to need maintenance due to regular use, wear and tear, however Calgary Transit also conducts preventative inspections to help maintenance workers discover problems proactively and keep our escalators operating safely. We appreciate your patience.