MTA Press Releases

Press Release
August 6, 2008
MTA New York City Transit Escalators Go "Green"

Like humans, machines benefit from a little rest from time to time, and the escalators that provide service to subway customers are no exception. Under a pilot program, NYC Transit has programmed some of its 169 escalators to go to "sleep" when not in use. Thirty-five (35) green escalators have been installed at four subway stations across the city, and will be activated on Monday, August 11th.

These new "sleep mode" escalators are equipped with a variable-frequency drive and numerous sensors, prompting escalators to slow down when no one is using them and increase to normal speed when a rider approaches. A sensor positioned near the escalator "sees" customers approaching and "tells" the escalator to adjust its speed.

"These escalators are a very visible example of our commitment to contributing to a greener, more sustainable environment," said MTA NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. "While at rest, these green escalators consume less energy, and are therefore more cost effective," added Roberts.

NYC Transit participated in a study of green escalators as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and we estimate that each green escalator used in the New York City subway system can save 17,122 KWH of power in a day – a savings of more than $1,800 a year per escalator.

In addition, certain components of a green escalator may last anywhere from 11 to 33 percent longer than a conventional escalator, cutting down on maintenance and repair costs over time. While new to the New York City Subway environment, sleep mode escalators have been in use in transit systems in Europe and Asia for several years. Airports in Canada, Germany and Israel also successfully use sleep mode equipment.

The sleep mode escalators have been installed at the 34th Street - Herald Square, Roosevelt Island, Parsons Blvd. and Jamaica/Van Wyck stations. SubTalk Station posters detailing the operational features of the sleep mode escalators will be posted in stations near sleep mode escalators, and a Take-One brochure will be available in station Customer Information Centers located near Station Booths.

Take-One Brochure

SubTalk Poster