NYC’s subway booths and their station agents could soon be a thing of the past. But don’t worry, the MTA says, the station agents won’t lose their jobs, but will instead transition into new jobs as “customer service ambassadors.”
The New York Daily News had the exclusive on this development, which is expected to officially roll out later this month. These ambassadors will be walking around the station to help passengers with questions, and provide up to date information about the subway system and any particular commute, a spokesperson for the MTA told the NYDN.
At present the MTA is in negotiations with the transit union to fully flesh out this new position, what the duties might entail, and a potential pay increase. These changes are all part of the MTA’s $836M action plan to fix the subway, and improve the commuter experience.
Some commuters have already had a chance to interact with the new subway ‘ambassadors’ at the 53rd Street station on the R train, which debuted after a six-month renovation last month.
Some transit workers remain skeptical (understandably!). Representatives for the Transport Workers Union Local 100 expressed concerns that this was a way for the MTA to cut jobs. But an MTA spokesperson assured the NYDN that the agency will actually hire more people once this new ‘ambassador’ program is firmly in place. The NYDN also learned that MTA has already tried fitting its agents with potential new uniforms for their new roles.
This announcement follows news of the MTA testing out mobile ticketing to phase out the MetroCard, so figuring out new roles for station agents seem like the logical next step.