MTA Long Island Rail Road will discontinue staffed ticket agent service at 20 stations Wednesday, continuing a steady decrease in such agents systemwide. Only 30 stations will remain staffed with agents following the latest cut. Riders at 94 stations can buy tickets from electonic vending machines in lieu of personal service.
LIRR says the move will save $2.2 million during the next year, and said the 20 stations to be affected sell the fewest tickets in the system. "The LIRR remains committed to providing a high level of customer service and is confident that riders will make ample use of its easy-to-use ticket machines, which are available 24 hours a day at these stations," the railroad said in a statement.
But a spokesman for the Transportation Communications International Union, which represents the LIRR's ticket agents and clerks, said the move is unwise. “We're the eyes and ears, the front line," the representative said, noting the presence of ticket agents aids in providing security, as well as the ability to offer directions, and assist elderly, disabled, and disoriented riders.