Elevator wait times are a major issue in cities like New York. Pressing a button and then waiting for the accessibility device to arrive and take you where you want to go is a common but frustrating and time-consuming problem. A 2010 study that measured the cumulative time that office workers spent waiting for elevators during the past 12 months showed that, for commercial elevators in New York, waiting time was 16.6 years! Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston followed with (8.7 years), (9 years) and (6.8) years, respectively. The study pointed out that better efficiency at the system level could help businesses save on energy and maintenance costs, and also improve employee productivity.

Elevator passenger wait time is a major factor in assessing building performance standards. In office buildings, people tend to be more impatient than in residential ones, and so acceptable waiting times for residential elevators in New York are much higher than for their commercial counterparts. User studies have indicated that for an office building, a waiting time of less than 20 seconds is excellent and 40 seconds is poor. On the other hand, for apartments, waiting time of 90 seconds is acceptable.

For building owners and managers, longer than acceptable wait times should be considered a sign of impending elevator malfunction. Wait times and speed need to be checked regularly to prevent the elevator control system from developing problems. Professional elevator maintenance by certified technicians would involve assessment of matters such as:

  • The time taken for the system to go from the bottom floor to the top floor
  • The wait times during peak and off-peak times

Recording these times and comparing them to the recommended standards or baseline specified by the manufacturer, would allow the technician to evaluate this aspect of the device’s performance. Common reasons for long wait times and slow performance include a defective relay control system, which is most likely caused by equipment aging. If the system is beyond repair, it would need to be replaced. Postponing this could increase response time, downtime, and repair costs as well as shorten service life and compromise user safety.

Established elevator suppliers in New York provide comprehensive maintenance support that covers assessment, repair, lubrication of parts, replacement of faulty mechanisms, checks for suspicious noises and vibrations, and checks of safety devices. Factors such as travel time between floors, response time, leveling, door operation and start and stop are also assessed. In addition to ensuring uninterrupted operation by preventing excessive wear and breakdown, relying on regular elevator maintenance can reduce wait times and enhance user satisfaction.