In a plan designed to better serve Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rail customers and promote job opportunities for Chicagoans, the CTA is creating up to 700 positions to provide customer assistance at “L” stations throughout the city.
The new customer service assistant (CSA) positions will aid rail station customers in a variety of ways, from answering questions and helping customers with disabilities to handling or reporting problems with station equipment and facilities.
“These 700 new positions are excellent job opportunities that will allow many Chicagoans to return to work, in our city’s neighborhoods, in important roles that help their fellow residents,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I am pleased that CTA’s labor agreement allowed for the hiring of these positions and look forward to seeing the customer service assistants on the ‘L’ platforms in the coming weeks and months.”
The new CSAs will complement CTA’s existing staff of approximately 200 full-time customer assistants, who are assigned to the busiest rail stations and at peak ridership hours, including those along the CTA’s two 24-hour rail lines, the Red and Blue lines. The new, part-time CSA positions will ensure staffing at all of the CTA’s 145 rail stations.
Most CSAs will work during lower-traffic hours where privately contracted workers are currently used, with expanded job duties and additional training to better serve customers. Both customer assistants —who will receive a new job title of customer service representative — and CSAs will have direct contact with CTA’s Control Center, to assist in providing information about service issues and other customer information.
The new jobs stem from the historic labor agreement reached in November 2012 between CTA and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus and rail workers.
The new positions mark the second time in less than a year the CTA has hosted job fairs seeking candidates for customer-facing positions. Last summer CTA hosted three job fairs seeking more than 400 bus drivers in conjunction with the Red Line South reconstruction project beginning May 2013. Those 400-plus have been hired, and the CTA continues to hire candidates from those fairs to fill other driver vacancies.
CTA has used rail customer assistants since 1997, when ticket agents were phased out as CTA moved toward electronic farecards.