Broken elevators: A tall order

Riding elevators cheek by jowl with co-workers is a fact of life when you live in a city containing not just the world’s tallest tower, but, at last count, 448 smaller skyscrapers and 909 high-rises.

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Glinting in the hazy sunshine, Dubai’s skyline rises from the desert like a mirage

The most space-agey elevator ride is of course the minute-long high-speed ascent through 124 floors to the Burj Khalifa’s viewing platform. While standing in the futuristic, darkened elevator, you at first don’t even realise you’re moving – until you notice the floor numbers rapidly rising and your ears popping.

Being propelled upwards at the lightening speed of 10 metres a second is quite a ride. Though, I must say, I’m very thankful I wasn’t in this elevator when it broke with a loud boom in 2010, stranding a group of terrified tourists 124 floors above the ground for almost an hour.

The 24-storey building where I work is served by just two elevators going all the way to the top, and during peak ride times, the office workers squish themselves in like suited sardines in a tin.

On the upside, our lifts now have ‘elevision’ – TV monitors that, though mainly screening advertising and scrolling tickertape news headlines, at least provide a welcome distraction as we all huddle together.

You’re wondering where this blog post is going, aren’t you? Bear with me.

Today, I vowed I’d never moan about our elevators again – because at least they work.

Wealthy homeowners living in penthouse flats on the 97th floor of Dubai’s Princess Tower – the world’s tallest residential skyscraper – are having to climb up more than 1,300ft of steps after all eight lifts in the building broke down last week.

I had to chuckle (okay, belly laugh), because that’s the equivalent of walking one-third of the way up Scotland’s Ben Nevis.

Residents, some of whom paid £2 million-plus for their flats, were told today that a solitary ‘service elevator’ is available for ‘limited’ trips to the 50th floor – but anyone living above that level would still have to walk the rest of the way.

Bet they can’t wait for those elevator parts to arrive from Finland.

Read the full story here.