Getting Back2Good Is Going Better Than Planned
The list of initiatives we laid out in October 2016 for returning Metro to a safe, reliable and customer friendly transit system was admittedly aggressive. But I'm happy to report that today we are making progress on many of the key issues our riders say impact their experience the most.
A great example is our new 7000 Series railcars. They look better, they ride better, they sound better, but most importantly to our riders, they work better. In 2017 our goal is to add a new 7000 Series car every business day. The addition of these beautiful state-of-the-art transit cars is already reducing the number of breakdowns we experience. So as the number of new cars go up, our maintenance issues go down.
Another priority for Metro is keeping our escalators in good working condition. Not long ago our escalator reliability ratings told the story of system equipment badly needing attention. Far from great, our ratings then were, in my estimation, not even good. But thanks to the focused efforts of countless Metro employees, we have upgraded our escalators virtually system wide. The result is that escalator performance is at a six-year high, reaching 95% in the first three months of 2017.
Because cleaner, brighter stations are also safer stations, we have made it a policy to deep clean every station four times more frequently. This is well above industry standard and another example of how we're exceeding what's considered acceptable. The difference is already obvious in many stations.
Finally, we are responding to riders by improving Internet availability on our rail platforms. By the end of 2017, we will have free Wi-Fi available in over half of our underground stations, and we continue advancing the project to provide cell service in our tunnels. These improvements make your commute to work a great place to connect with the world.
While we are encouraged with the progress being made, our Back2Good program has only just started. Over the days, months and years to come, it is my promise that you will see real improvement in the service we provide. First, we will get back to good. And eventually, we will restore Metro to the world-class transit system it once was.