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MTA puts foot down on token booth workers' bathroom breaks, limiting them to only 10 minutes

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Take this memo and flush it. Transit workers and union officials are livid about a written MTA directive giving token booth clerks a maximum 10 minutes to go the bathroom — and get back to their work stations. “I don't even want to drink water or coffee because I know I will have to go to the bathroom soon," Tareque Ahmed, a Queens token booth clerk, said. “This policy is ridiculous. Some people take longer than others..."

 

The time limit is particularly impractical in stations where it takes several minutes to walk to the nearest employee bathroom, union officials contend. “Sometimes you’re traveling just 20 feet; I’m not going to lie to you,” said Paul Piazza, an executive board member with Transport Workers Union Local 100. “But sometimes it’s two or three blocks away. That’s why there can’t be a time limit.”

 

Read more: nydailynews

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I think it's a little ironic that they're "putting their foot down" but yet they have no problem eliminating token booth clerk positions.  I mean if they want to argue safety and security (which is what I assume they're thinking of) then they wouldn't keep trying to do everything to eliminate the position, though I do understand their point.  There should be some sort of compromise made because as was argued, some people take longer than others and some have to go further to get to the bathroom.  All this will do is create crabby, b*tchy employees and they'll take their frustration out on who?? The general public... 

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And whats going to happen if they don't return within ten minutes? How are they going to enforce this, by putting a camera inside of each token booth? 

Also, what are you supposed to do when you have the runs? I do find this quite ridicolous...

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The (MTA) is overreacting on the shit nobody cares about. That doesn't matter at all.

Edited by Quill Depot

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And whats going to happen if they don't return within ten minutes? How are they going to enforce this, by putting a camera inside of each token booth? 

Also, what are you supposed to do when you have the runs? I do find this quite ridicolous...

 

Not speaking as a transit worker but I'm pretty sure that if the agents violate this policy long enough they can get written up for it by their immediate supervisors who may monitor their shifts. Don't quote me on this.

 

In the private sector or in other commercial areas of the employment sector they enforce very similar psuedo-dictator like policies, rules and regulations on their workforce. Which is beyond ridiculous, totally agree. It's amazing that the MTA is much more concerned about their potential for increase in revenue from fare collection rather that its own faithful employees. Unless the agency is preparing to downsize their own workforce again by means of attrition or something to that effect. (As VG8 was initially saying.)

Edited by realizm

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I think it's a little ironic that they're "putting their foot down" but yet they have no problem eliminating token booth clerk positions.  I mean if they want to argue safety and security (which is what I assume they're thinking of) then they wouldn't keep trying to do everything to eliminate the position, though I do understand their point.  There should be some sort of compromise made because as was argued, some people take longer than others and some have to go further to get to the bathroom.  All this will do is create crabby, b*tchy employees and they'll take their frustration out on who?? The general public... 

 

I don't think there's a safety or security issue - I've seen no evidence of a notable increase in crime at newly unattended entrances. It's probably just an issue of a small number of lazy employees taking advantage of a relative lack of supervision by taking extended paid breaks for much more than going to the bathroom.

 

I agree that ten minutes is stingy, but I'd be very surprised if it's ever enforced strictly on the 99% of employees who do their jobs and might have an occasional long bathroom break. Without a rule in place, there's no way to discipline the 1% who look for every opportunity to slack off.

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I don't think there's a safety or security issue - I've seen no evidence of a notable increase in crime at newly unattended entrances. It's probably just an issue of a small number of lazy employees taking advantage of a relative lack of supervision by taking extended paid breaks for much more than going to the bathroom.

 

I agree that ten minutes is stingy, but I'd be very surprised if it's ever enforced strictly on the 99% of employees who do their jobs and might have an occasional long bathroom break. Without a rule in place, there's no way to discipline the 1% who look for every opportunity to slack off.

You do raise a good point about the slackers... However, I would argue that the (MTA)'s track record shows that they are most certainly serious about enforcing this rule.  They are sticklers when it comes to these sorts of things.  Have you forgotten about the transit worker that was doing the (R) train I believe and had to use the bathroom? I still remember when I worked for them... The were really anal about our timesheets.  They would come by I believe on Thursdays since we off on Fridays and would check our timesheets with a find tooth comb.  Big agencies like the (MTA) like to act as if they're serious about enforcing rules because they're so big and inept that they can't keep their house in order so they have to be extreme when they do actually enforce things and become competent to make examples of those that they catch.

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Let me speak from an agents point of view. Comfort reliefs aka bathroom breaks have always been 10 minutes, but has always been loosely enforced. In 7 years Ive only had 2 supervisors say something if I took over 10 minutes. Depending what I have to do I can be gone for 3 minutes or for 15 minutes. Sometimes you just need that break outta the Booth. It truly does feel like a cage after a few hours. But the problem with the 10 minute rule is that not every station has a bathroom a few feet away from the booth. You can have a station such as Pelham Pkwy on the 2 train with the restroom like 20 feet away. Then you can work any of the A line stations from 96th street to 135th street which all have the rest room at the opposite end of the station and you have to walk the entire lenght of the platform. Another example is a station like times square with one bathroom to three booths and track and signals department. It takes a good 4 minutes to walk to the bathroom and god forbid someone is using it, now you have to wait. So a hard rule on 10 minutes is not practical. 20 minutes should be time limit given.

 

 

Then they only want you using the bathroom on this break. Not going to the store for a snack. They say that's what lunch breaks are for. But some booths don't get lunch at night, because back in the days certain areas where deemed too dangerous for you to leave the station at all. In any event this is typical TA nonsense, nothing new. Stations department is very strict and this is just one example.

Edited by WillBx718
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