The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is establishing some news changes beginning Thursday. According to FOX 5 New York, 2,200 subway station agents are moving out of token booths to provide customer service to riders on platforms.
More Details About The Subway Station Agents’ New Roles
According to the outlet, the station agents will be interacting directly with subway customers. Agents will reportedly assist with giving riders directions, helping customers with fare machines, and assisting during service disruptions.
Additionally, the outlet also states that station agents will “report any elevator, turnstile or quality of life issues.”
MTA CEO Janno Lieber has reportedly been outspoken in sharing that having token booths in the subway is “outdated.”
“Right now, MetroCard vending machines handle almost all the transactions, even with OMNY, even more of the transactions no longer go to the booth. The booth transactions are down to like 1%.”
However, Richard Davey, the president of NYC Transit, says that token booths will not be completely removed from NYC subway infrastructure.
“There will be legitimate reasons for our agents to be in those booths to make reports, get information about service changes, or delays, for example, or just to take a break.”
How The MTA Reportedly Plans To Keep Station Agents Safe
In 2022, the NYPD reported that transit crime increased by more than 53% since 2021, as per New York Post. As of March 3, 2023, an updated NYPD report has stated that transit crime is down 19% so far this year. However, concern for station agent safety is still a priority for the company.
Richard Davey explained.
“They’ll be issued all phones, for example, so if they have to report an issue that they see in the station, they’ll be able to reach our rail control center or police if they need to report something significant or urgent.”
Additionally, the MTA has also announced that three more Customer Service Centers will open in the subway. This reportedly includes locations at Fulton Street in Manhattan. As well as Myrtyle-Wyckoff Avenues in Brooklyn and 74th St. — Jackson Heights — Roosevelt Avenue in Queens.
Station agents who are stationed at the Customer Service Centers will assist customers there with making the switch to OMNY. According to ABC7 New York, OMNY is the “payment system that is replacing MetroCards.” Furthermore, the system allows a commuter to pay for MTA service via their smartphone or credit card.