HYDERABAD: Do not be surprised if you see the escalators at the metro station dysfunctional because a lot of escalators have been 'switched off' pushing several commuters to use the stairs despite having such facility.
In doing so, the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) claims to save on high costs incurred in keeping the escalators operative at the 23 stations currently operational between Miyapur and Nagole.
Several metro stations which have a reduced footfall during the day have started to adopt the practice. "It is not that the two escalators are closed. We run one and turn the other one off to save power. It is carried both at the street level and concourse level," said a Station Controller (SC) while adding that the practice is mostly during non-peak hours.
Metro stations like Bharath Nagar, Erragadda, DR BR Ambedkar Balanagar register reduced footfall both during the peak and non-peak hours. The SC, manually, switches off the escalators between 11 pm- 3 pm.
For instance, on Wednesday when Express visited Bharath Nagar Metro station, an escalator at entry point A was shut while at B it was running. The same scenario existed at several other stations.
Interestingly, the escalators sourced from OTIS, an American brand, popular for its product range on vertical transport systems like escalators and elevators, have in-built sensors to automatically turn idle when there is no activity. But, the department does not seem to use the prowess of the technology.
Officials of L&TMRHL point out that the escalators consume a "heavy load" of electricity which when switched off can save operational costs.
"The escalators are known to consume a heavy load of electric power. So, the stations recording reduced footfall usually switch off the escalators. The discretion to do so is held by the SC," said a spokesperson of L&TMRHL.
However, it may be noted that the elevators are not switched off on the similar lines. So, the next time you wish to travel through the Hyderabad Metro Rail, make sure to take the stairs or the elevator as not every escalator is meant to function.
On average 60,000 footfall being registered by Metro rail
Currently, the Metro rail is registering a 60,000 footfall on an average. On November 29, 2017, the day when Metro was thrown open to the commoners, the footfall was recorded at 1.5 lakh.