By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Federal Transit Administration has issued a citation to Patco and the Delaware River Port Authority for doing a lousy job of maintaining its elevators and escalators.

Breakdowns are a constant annoyance for Patco riders.

“At Lindenwold it’s always out recently,” noted one woman we spoke with today.  “I barely take it there, but when I do, like every two weeks, it’s out.”

“At Westmont, I noticed those escalators from time to time are not working, and I just wonder how some people get up to the train platform, ’cause it’s a steep climb,” said one man.

An FTA investigation found that Patco failed to keep federally funded equipment in good operating order, a problem that the transit agency and DRPA acknowledge, according to spokesman Tim Ireland.

“We respect what the FTA is doing,” Ireland said today.  “They’re trying to be vigilant for people with disabilities, and we’re working with them.  We see them as partners in our effort to serve all of our customers, particularly those with mobility challenges.”

Ireland says Patco has hired Septa to fix the broken escalators.

Patco has been ordered to come up with a concrete plan to  help handicapped passengers who run into broken equipment.  It also must submit a monthly maintenance report to the FTA until it achieves three straight months of nearly flawless availability of escalators and elevators.

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