Between MetroCards soon being phased out, old subway cars being replaced by new R211 cars, and certain lines receiving speed increases, the MTA is definitely making some much-needed updates to NYC’s subway system.
Additionally, at the end of 2022, MTA officials announced that the subway’s glass ticket booths will be a thing of the past, giving token agents the chance to interact more directly with New Yorkers. And the time has finally come this week, MTA just declared in a press release.
Station agents will shift from working solely in booths to providing straphangers with assistance throughout the station, such as at turnstiles, MetroCard machines (which will soon also be a thing of the past), and on platforms themselves in order to modernize the system.
Agents will assist seniors and riders with disabilities, maintain a clean environment, report any issues in the station such as with elevators and escalators, and give out directions. According to the recent press release, additional duties of the MTA agents will include:
- Enhanced customer service during service disruptions and major planned changes
- OMNY guidance and information, including conversion and use
- Maintenance of a safe and clean customer environment
“Navigating our city’s mass transit system can sometimes be confusing, so riders need to have places to go where knowledgeable MTA employees can help them with directions and address their other customer service needs,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.
Plus, three new high-tech customer service centers will open across the subway system.
NYC Transit President Davey announced back in November a commitment to achieve at least 70% customer satisfaction on subways and buses by June 2024. By September 2022 customer satisfaction amongst subway riders had risen 10 points (satisfaction was at 59%) compared to previous months. The new station agent role follows this commitment.
“Station Agents play a critical role in assisting customers with access needs,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer and Senior Advisor Quemuel Arroyo. “As we seek to further enhance service delivery, the new Station Agent role will transform how we engage with our customers and reimagine the customer experience.”
As for the token booths themselves, they’ll transition into being used by employees to fill out paperwork and call authorities when needed.