NYCT Station Agents to Begin Assisting Riders Outside of Station BoothsWritten by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
The New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) on March 28 announced that New York City Transit (NYCT) subway station agents will begin to support customers outside of station booths this week for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In December, the MTA and Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 announced the future of station agents to “enhance the customer experience,” by performing duties outside of booths, including answering questions and providing directional support; walking around mezzanines, turnstile areas and platforms; helping customers at fare machines; monitoring safety and cleanliness on platforms and across station areas; and reporting issues as they arise in a timely manner.
In preparation for the enhanced role, MTA says NYCT station agents are receiving training on enhanced customer service and OMNY equipment. Starting this week, the enhanced station agent role will provide customer support outside of station booths through the following:
- 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.
Additionally, MTA announced the opening of three additional Customer Service Centers located at Fulton Street (2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z) in Manhattan, Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues (L, M) in Brooklyn, and 74th Street–Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue (7, E, F, M, R) in Queens. All three centers, the agency says, are repurposed station booths and feature enhanced lighting, canopy, and wrapped signage to create a more inviting and welcoming customer environment.
The MTA opened its first Customer Service Centers on Feb. 7 at Stillwell Avenue-Coney Island, 161st Street-Yankee Stadium, and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center. On Feb. 28, the program expanded to all five boroughs with centers opening at 34 Street-Penn Station, Flushing-Main Street, and St. George. Six additional Customer Service Centers will open in the subway system by the end of 2023 at the following stations:
- East 180th Street (2, 5)
- 125th Street (4, 5, 6)
- Fordham Road (4)
- Times Square-42nd Street: (1, 2, 3, N, Q, R, S)
- Sutphin Boulevard-Archer Avenue-JFK Airport: (E, J, Z)
- 168th Street: (1, A, C)
Customer Service Centers feature services historically provided by the MTA exclusively at 3 Stone Street in Lower Manhattan in the neighborhoods where riders live. The centers, according to MTA, comprise repurposed booths and new retail outlets and feature enhanced accessibility, OMNY technology, and a dedicated, more welcoming visual presentation for customers through new lighting, branded wrapping, and canopies.
Station agents working at Customer Service Centers assist customers with switching to OMNY, including helping Reduced-Fare MetroCard customers switch to OMNY and providing applications to first-time Reduced-Fare customers. Additionally, Customer Service Centers will provide customers with information about how to submit complaints and receive updates and information on travel delays. Customer Service Center agents also assist customers with wayfinding through the transit system.
Agents working at Customer Service Centers receive dedicated training on OMNY equipment and all dedicated customer service functions the centers provide. Customer Service Centers are staffed by station agents 24/7, apart from St. George, which is open Monday to Friday from 5:30 am to 9:00 pm.
“Today is yet another day of progress as we improve the customer experience and deliver faster, cleaner, and safer service,” said NYC Transit President Richard Davey. “Customer Service Centers are opening across the system, bringing service directly to riders at the stations they use. And in a double win, our station agents will begin their new, enhanced role out of the booth, directly assisting customers. As we continue to see customer satisfaction on subways climb, these two announcements are further momentum towards our North Star goal of 70% satisfaction.”