Minor issue at Orange Line station a big deal to a new mom

MALDEN, Mass. — Tracks, trains, signals and stations: the list of needed upgrades at the MBTA includes some very big ticket items.

But new Malden mom Samantha Gillis hopes the transit agency won’t forget to address the little things -- in particular, an elevator she depends on at Wellington Station. For weeks, she said, it hasn’t worked.

“I think with all the issues at the MBTA already, it’s stressful enough,” said Gillis. “Now having the elevator on top of that, it’s not making it any better.”

Gillis depends on the elevator because her four-month-old son, Micah, is in a stroller.

“I’ve mentioned it to the people at Wellington Station, and they say they’ll say something or do something about it,” she said. “And I haven’t gotten a response yet.”

Her entreaties to the MBTA unanswered, Gillis turned to Boston 25 News to help get word to transit officials how important the lift is not only for parents with strollers -- but those in wheelchairs, too.

Boston 25 News took a look at the elevator at issue and found it functioned just fine -- until it was directed to descend. Then, it just sat there. No signage indicates the elevator is a problem -- and, indeed, the MBTA said in a statement that Wellington’s elevators were all functional.

At least one is. It carries passengers down to the platform where shiny new Orange Line trains stop en route to Forest Hills. Why can’t Gillis just use that one?

“One direction is to Forest Hills, one is to Oak Grove,” she explained. “And there’s no bridge between the platforms. So you should have to come upstairs and try to switch over. You just need both.”

Gillis said the MBTA offered some less-than-helpful advice, given she’s usually at the station with Micah in his stroller.

“They told me that when the train arrives, I would have to run through the train (to get to the other platform),” she said. “Going in and out of people, with the doors shutting very fast.”

A challenging course for any passenger -- let alone one pushing a baby.

So, Gillis has resorted to taking the stairs -- her arms wrapped around the stroller. Or, she takes a disquieting descent via the escalator. To protect Micah, she stands in front of him on the moving staircase, her back to the bottom.

“I’m scared I’m going to fall backwards and it’s not a good feeling,” she said.

Gillis said she got in touch with Boston 25 because she’s not the only one dependent on functioning elevators. She said other Moms with strollers are having issues -- and she’s seen wheelchair-bound passengers dealing with the situation, too.

She had one message for the MBTA.

“Please get your elevators fixed -- or look into it more,” she said. “The MBTA is supposed to be for easy access and we can’t get that right now.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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