August 2, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Toronto, CA – Firefighters in Ontario answered almost 4,500 calls to get people out of defective elevators last year, double the number from 2001, while Montreal firefighters responded to more than 1,500. “I don’t think we’re heading toward a crisis, I believe we’re already there,” said Rob Isabelle, a mechanical engineer and elevator consultant.
He and others in the industry blame an increase in the number of elevators, aging equipment, and the domination of four large multinational companies—Otis, Schindler, Kone, and ThyssenKrupp—who have squeezed maintenance technicians to work more for less. Thirty years ago, according to Isabelle, technicians would typically service about 35 to 45 elevators for about $1,000 a month each. Now, he says, they might be responsible for 100 elevators for $600 each. The companies “really rule it with a tight fist and it’s all about bottom lines more than it is about customer satisfaction or for the riding public,” said Ben McIntyre, business manager for Local 50 of the International Union of Elevator Constructors in Ajax. “If they can cut a corner to make their bottom line look better… they will. It’s only when an accident happens or something happens, then they start pointing fingers.” Read more