Varying reports have now appeared about a MARTA escalator incident on New Year’s Eve.At first the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported, “a bunch rowdy college football fans lost their footing” when one of the Five Points MARTA station escalator’s malfunctioned.Eleven people were injured in the accident.
According to riders, the escalator suddenly began running backwards at four to five times its normal speed.The sudden reverse escalation caused the riders to fall to the stairs in a heap.Over 50 people were dropped to the station platform.One person sustained a broken leg, and 11 people were transferred to the hospital.
MARTA officials blamed the mishap on this group of “rowdies” and said “people should learn not to mess around.”Eyewitnesses disputed such behavior.Three days later MARTA admitted that three transit escalators in two stations failed that day. A MARTA spokesperson revealed that the braking system on two escalators failed at the Five Points station and one failed at the Georgia Dome station all on News Year’s Eve.The escalators were subsequently shut down and are under repair.The next day the Atlanta Journal Constitution demanded that MARTA “take aggressive steps to eliminate persistent equipment problems.”
To be fair, MARTA responded with an Equal Time column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by stating that it had over 149 escalators in operation, moved approximately 500,000 people a day, was the ninth largest transportation system in the country, and all in all had an excellent safety record.MARTA also maintained it was conducting a thorough investigation of its escalator accidents.
While misuse of public transport systems would be dangerous, the jabbing needle of this whole account is how MARTA first tried to blame its passengers for the malfunction of its own escalators.MARTA should have simply stated that it was investigating the incident, particularly if reports of misuse muddied up its understanding of events.Instead, MARTA chose to blame the victims. What many of these victims did not know was that two hours earlier at the same station, another escalator had malfunctioned in the exact same way.
No doubt MARTA does move a large number of people everyday through its transit system.For that very reason, it should have an aggressive equipment safety inspection plan and policy.We will be keeping an eye on this story to let you know what MARTA finally determines in its investigation.
In the meantime, if someone, some business or a government entity’s negligence has caused you harm, contact the law firm of Robert N. Katz for a free private consultation.