November 16, 2018 05:58 PM
It happens every year: the seasons change, temperatures fall and snow accumulates. And for Metro Transit officials it also means dealing with another rash of broken heat lamps at bus and train stops.
Officials say many of the heat lamps are broken by vandals who target the foot-long glass tubes inside for an unknown reason. Fixing and replacing them has become a costly annual chore. Last winter, the agency had to replace 1,200 of the system's 1,500 heat lamps.
But this year, they're taking it one step further and adding protection.
Padilla said some of Metro Transit's technicians developed custom metal covers to protect the exposed bulbs. Workers have installed about 100 of the covers so far, and will be working to make sure all of the system's 1,500 heat lamps are protected.
"We can't understand why people are doing it, but what we can do is respond to it and keep them from doing it again," Padilla said. "And everything we are hearing is it's really making a difference."
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Amanda Weinstein said she takes the Blue Line train to work every day. She says she's pushed the "heat" button on the platform, only to be disappointed by a broken lamp.
"If the metal grates don't cost as much as the bulbs, I think it's a good idea," Weinstein said.
The heat lamps are programed only to work when it's below 40 degrees.
"We know the riders who are waiting there for our services they have the right to be warm," Padilla said.
Officials also say they review surveillance video when possible to try to identify and charge the suspects responsible for any vandalism. They say video led them to several successful convictions last winter.
Updated: November 16, 2018 05:58 PM
Created: November 16, 2018 05:12 PM
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