But to really fix the long-standing problem with its perennially broken escalators -- which left one of every five escalators out of service last week -- the agency said it would need 55 more workers at a cost of $6.8 million.
An outside consultant said in the fall that Metro's poor maintenance practices led the escalators and elevators to break down. Over the winter, the transit agency acknowledged it has been struggling to meet its own upkeep goals. In December, Metro met its own preventive maintenance schedule on its 588 escalators just 40 percent of the time.
To increase that to 85 percent, the agency says in a report to board members that it needs to increase its staffing. With those additional workers, Metro could increase the size and number of its maintenance teams. They would hire 42 more repairmen, called journeymen, and four new supervisors along with a handful of other positions.
But the agency warned that it will need even more workers when the so-called Silver Line extends service to Washington Dulles International Airport. Metro said the 23-mile rail project would add another 100 new escalators and elevators, also requiring maintenance.
- Kytja Weir