OTTAWA—In public spaces across the country, moving stairs remain stubbornly immobile.  Unaware pedestrians approach these jagged-toothed people movers and stop short. The public seems to forget how to navigate these beasts like normal stairs and hold up traffic, trip or assume they only work in one direction.

Now Sid Arnold, head repairman at Humboldt Elevator and Escalator in Toronto, has confirmed what we’ve suspected all along: escalators only work 10% of the time. “Yeah, it’s a total scam,” said Arnold.  “They’re built to run for three, maybe four days, before they need servicing.”

In a report released this week, the National Safety Council outed the faulty machines and called for across the board upgrades.  “Our statistics show that a mall escalator carrying 2000 riders a day, running for twelve consecutive hours, will only operate for 3.3 days,” said study author Gene Anderson.   “And that’s an average.  Some only run two days, while others functioned five days before failing.”

“I knew it!” exclaimed seasoned Toronto commuter, Jan Bird.  “I’ve never gone a full week without the escalator at Dupont Station breaking down.  Not only is it a pain in the ass, but people don’t seem to know what to do when they step onto the broken stairs.  Just the other day, it took an able-bodied woman blocking my path a good five seconds to resign herself to actually bending her knees and descending under her own power.”

When asked how this affects his reputation, Humboldt owner Bobby Ursler responded with a smile.  “We’ll take that contract to upgrade all the escalators across the GTA.  I mean, who else is gonna do it?  A mechanic?  An HVAC company? I don’t think so.  This is specialized knowledge carefully guarded by our union.” Turning to address his crew, Ursler called, “Drinks are on me tonight, boys!”

Humboldt repairman Judd Norman says the stats on elevators are just as bleak.  “Actually, we kind of led the way in planned obsolescence.  The escalator guys just jumped onboard once they saw how it was done.”

photo: northern green pixie

By Molly Donovan

I grew up in the USA, but don't hold that against me because I'm also Canadian. Just think of me as the mole.

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