Storeys of woe as lift breakdown forces staff to take stairs at 22-floor Golden Mile Tower

All four lifts were not in operation at the Golden Mile Tower on Jan 11, and tenants have been using the stairs to get to their offices, some as high as 22 floors up.
All four lifts were not in operation at the Golden Mile Tower on Jan 11, and tenants have been using the stairs to get to their offices, some as high as 22 floors up.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
A man uses the stairs at Golden Mile Tower on Jan 16.
A man uses the stairs at Golden Mile Tower on Jan 16.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Workers at the 22-storey Golden Mile Tower are being forced to pant and puff their way up the stairs after the last working lift in the building broke down. 

Two of the building’s four lifts have been closed for upgrading for almost two months, while a third stopped working two weeks back, the workers at the building told The Straits Times.

This had left just one functional lift to service the entire building - until it gave way last Thursday (Jan 11).

When contacted, the building management did not confirm the duration of each lift’s closure. But a circular dated Jan 15 has been put up at the lift lobby, informing workers of the latest breakdown.

The circular added that lift contractor Kone is “working around the clock” with its subcontractor to push forward the completion of upgrading works at one of the lifts, and it should be operational by Friday or earlier.

This has given little consolation to workers there.

Madam Goh Kah Chu, 69, takes about 15 minutes to get to her office on the 18th floor and has to take regular breaks during her walk up to rest and catch her breath.

“My muscles will be painful but I just climb slowly,” said Madam Goh, who works as an administrator in a logistics firm. She added that all four lifts have been out of operation at the same time on at least three occasions in the past two years.

“Usually, at least one lift will be repaired within a day,” she added. “This is the longest that all the lifts have been out of operation.”

Mr Patrick Wong, 63, climbs the stairs twice a day to get to his building consultancy firm on the 11th floor. “It’s very tiring,” he said. “They (the building management) promised us it will be fixed by Friday. We will see then if it really happens.”

When The Straits Times visited the building at lunchtime on Tuesday, all four lifts were barricaded, two of them with signs saying they were closed for upgrading. About 30 people were seen going up and down the stairs between 11.30am and 12.30pm.

The ageing building was completed in 1974. 


Mr Jai Prakash, 38, climbing the stairs at Golden Mile Tower. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

“Everyone is very fed up,” said lawyer Edmund Hendrick, 57, who works on the 16th floor. “It’s been going on for so long. Something should have been done a long time ago.”

 
 
 

Building manager Fong Kah Wai said the lifts are about 25 years old and have parts that are obsolete. He declined to comment further until the technical report is out.

Workers in the building said the lifts have been facing several technical issues. Last November, Ms Queenie Chong, 22, said she was in the lift when it dropped three floors and came to a stop in between the fifth and sixth levels.

“We were in the lift for about 15 minutes before someone on the fifth floor prised open the lift doors from outside,” said the account assistant who works on the 22nd floor.

She added that since she began working in the building last September, she has had to use the stairs seven times or so.

“Sometimes, (I use the stairs) because only one lift is in operation and I need to wait about 10 minutes for an available lift.”

Kone could not be reached for comment.