The task of climbing the escalators at the Rosslyn Metro station is a daunting one for even people who consider themselves in great shape. Now, imagine not having a choice about climbing the steps to get to street level.
It happened on Wednesday morning at the busy Arlington station at the height of rush hour.
"It was crowded because of the line of people waiting for the escalator and the elevator," Metro rider Elio Valladares said.
All four of the long escalators - which Trip Advisor says are more than 194 feet long - went out of commission at about 8:50 a.m. For the next 20 minutes, a slow flow of commuters trickled onto the stalled staircases to trudge their way up and down.
"(There were) a lot of people having to stop halfway up and rest a little bit," commuter Eric Davis said.
Metro says two of the escalators were already undergoing repairs, and a spokesperson believes a power failure caused the other two to shut down.
However, the fact that the rush hour issues at Rosslyn aren't an isolated incident, even on Wednesday, are a bigger concern for riders. Earlier in the morning, riders reported that escalators were also malfunctioning at Dupont Circle and Foggy Bottom.
"I understand they are working hard to get it fixed," Metro rider Danny Moss said. "It takes time, meanwhile, we are all frustrated."
A multi-million dollar plan to upgrade the system and the escalators is currently underway. Metro plans to replace about 100 escalators over the next few years; work which started when the agency shut down an entire entrance of the Dupont Circle station earlier this year to begin replacing its three staircases.