Long before variable frequency drives became popular elevators were often driven by dual-speed asynchronous AC motors. Switching speeds was done by changing the number of poles (which is done by changing how stator coils are interconnected) - the motor would first run on lower speed, then switch to higher speed, then back to lower speed and then stop.
I've read many times that asynchronous AC motors have very low torque when starting. Looks like low starting torque would be a serious problem for driving an elevator - to such extent that a fully loaded elevator could stall the motor.
How is this problem resolved?