Metro Railway has launched a plan to install 29 escalators at all 23 stations on the route except Noapara in the next two years at a cost of around Rs 22 crore.
The Metro stations have altogether 64 escalators, many of which often do not function and leave passengers huffing and panting while climbing up long flights of stairs.
“The plan is to have an escalator from all surface entrances to a station to the mezzanine level and from there to the platform,” said a Metro official.
While two new escalators at Jatin Das Park station have been operational, one each at Maidan, Rabindra Sarobar and Sovabazar-Sutanuti are expected to be ready by Puja.
“There was a longstanding demand for more escalators at Jatin Das Park station because of its proximity to Chittaranjan Cancer Hospital,” said Protyush Ghosh, the deputy general manager, Metro Railway.
Four more escalators — one each at Mahatma Gandhi Road, Esplanade, Maidan and Rabindra Sarobar stations — will be ready by April 2014.
Metro officials have decided to install energy-efficient escalators — ones that start moving only when someone steps on them.
Commuters, however, wonder how sincere the authorities would be in maintaining the new escalators, given the sorry state of the existing ones.
Amit Paul, 62, who had a heart attack in 2005 and suffers from a knee problem, stopped using Metro a year ago because of the irregular escalator service and the long flights of stairs he is forced to climb.
“I would often travel by Metro from Shyambazar, but given the state of the escalators, have stopped doing so,” said the Maniktala resident.
Metro officials, however, have promised to ensure smoother functioning of the escalators. “We have undertaken this task (increasing the number of escalators) keeping commuters’ convenience in mind and shall ensure that the old ones are maintained properly,” said Ghosh.