The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 announced an agreement on the future of the station agent's role in the subway system. This agreement will enable station agents to support customer service needs more effectively in subway stations, according to the MTA's news release.
Station agents will shift from working exclusively in booths to performing core customer service functions throughout the station, including at turnstiles, MetroCard machines, and on platforms.
“Providing the best possible experience for customers is our North Star at New York City Transit,” said Richard Davey, NYC Transit president. “To customers, station agents often represent the face of the transit system, dating back to the era of token booths. By enhancing the station agent role, the era of customer support being offered only through a glass wall has gone the way of the token itself, and agents will be able to connect directly with the riders they’re serving.”
The new station agent role follows a commitment by Davey in November to achieve at least 70% customer satisfaction on subways and buses by June 2024. NYC Transit instituted monthly “pulse” surveys in May 2022 to better gauge customer satisfaction, and in September 2022, customer satisfaction amongst subway riders was 59%, 10 points higher than four months earlier. In November, NYC Transit announced the expansion of its Station ReNEWvation Program to 12 additional stations following work on nine stations in the Bronx completed in 2022.
The new station agent role will provide customer support out-of-booth through:
- Wayfinding throughout the transit system.
- Assistance for customers with disabilities and seniors.
- Assistance at fare machines.
- Enhanced customer service during service disruptions and major planned changes.
- OMNY guidance and information, including conversion and use.
- Timely reporting of any issues related to customer amenities, including elevators, escalators, digital signage, Help Points, and turnstiles.
- Maintenance of a safe and clean customer environment.
- Reporting of quality-of-life issues.
The MTA said it will begin to phase in the new station agent role starting in early 2023, with training currently underway on enhanced customer service and OMNY equipment.
NYC Transit began filling vacant station agent positions in November 2021. So far, 288 station agents have been hired, and the Authority added that it anticipates filling the remaining 235 station agent vacancies through the first half of 2023.