By Edivaldo McEnroe
— At least one of the six elevators being broken at the dorms has become commonplace; a great annoyance of Amsterdam University College students that inhabit the building. Despite housing agency DUWO’s recent announcement that all elevators have been fixed, issues seem to remain.
Students are prevented from bringing their bikes or other large items downstairs because of the broken elevators. Others have been late to class or work as a result. A few residents have even gotten stuck in one of the elevators.
On April 19, in a newsletter to all inhabitants of the Science Park dorms, DUWO’s Social Manager, Sanne Benneker, said “The lift doors have been replaced in October, this did not go as smoothly as planned because of the necessary fine-tuning of the operating systems. This has been resolved and for about a month all lifts have been working properly. Let’s keep it that way and use the lift well, so do not open and operate with your foot or bike. Please don’t dance or stomp!”.
However, according to first-year Science major Laura Gerritse, at least one of the elevators has been broken twice since the problem was said to have been resolved. Gerritse is especially involved in the issue as she is one of the few, if not the only student that regularly calls when the elevator is broken. About her conversations with DUWO, she says, “every time there was a different version of the story”. According to her, the customer service is not particularly aware of what is going on and it is hard to contact higher-ups.
The company that is supposed to handle the fixes is called SkyLift. After calls with DUWO, they sometimes call residents directly to ask them which lift is broken. However, when directly contacted they redirect to DUWO despite their number being on the elevators.
According to Gerritse, one of the reasons the problem may be so persistent is because there is another company responsible for large breakdowns. Benneker said, “It’s normal that multiple parties are involved with the elevators. SkyLift is responsible for the daily maintenance. OTIS is responsible for the planned maintenance, yearly checks, and larger issues such as replacing the doors”.
Benneker says the main reason there are still issues after the fine-tuning, is misuse by residents. She admits that there could be other problems too. By misusing them, “the elevators can go out of order and break down long term. Also, something could go wrong with the installation and software so therefore, there could always be an issue for various reasons,” she said.
Gerritse is highly sceptical that the issues may be caused by misuse by students as the elevators are often broken during the day, at quiet moments.
On one such occasion, on the 27th of March, first-year Science major Linnea Sinharoy got stuck in the elevator. While recalling what happened she said, “When I went on the ground floor and pressed the fourth-floor button the doors jammed shut and the elevator wouldn’t move. I texted into the class WhatsApp group and someone sent me the SkyLift number and thankfully the company was already here fixing the elevators, so it only took them like 5 mins to come over and get me out!”.
Sinharoy is not the only resident that has gotten stuck as Carmen Koppert, first-year Social Science major, got stuck twice. The first time, she said, “The elevator stopped between the 4th and 5th floor, but the doors opened so I could climb out”. “The elevator didn’t work for a week afterwards,” she adds. About the second occasion, she said, “I thought I got stuck, but then after 5 minutes I wanted to ring the alarm bell and the doors opened as I pushed it”.
The inconvenience to the residents remains. The elevators may be breaking down less after DUWO finished fine-tuning the new doors, but according to Koppert they are “definitely still broken often”.
Editor’s note: This news story is part of a collaboration between The Herring and AUC’s journalism course. The story was entirely reported, written, edited, and fact checked by members of the journalism course. Some material may have been altered by The Herring’s editors to fit its style guidelines.