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'Customer Service Centers' to open at 15 subway stations


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I see this as an attempt to slowly disengage and consolidate the existing booths throughout the system, where passengers could go to receive "help." Not only that, but I forsee a lot of those seniors in the station agent position walking off when this thing goes into full effect. They're trying to retain that job title that has become obsolete at this point.

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8 hours ago, AlgorithmOfTruth said:

I see this as an attempt to slowly disengage and consolidate the existing booths throughout the system, where passengers could go to receive "help." Not only that, but I forsee a lot of those seniors in the station agent position walking off when this thing goes into full effect. They're trying to retain that job title that has become obsolete at this point.

I'm not following what your point is, but this is an agreement between the (MTA) and the union to keep jobs that would otherwise be eliminated. Token booth clerks no longer make monetary transactions and with OMNY being rolled out, they simply are not needed in their current role. The current plan allows them to remain useful to the riding public by essentially helping customers with things like using the machines, providing directions, etc. If those seniors that you mentioned want to walk off, that's on them, but they either adapt or retire. If we're being honest, a lot of the younger generation use tap & pay and look up directions on their phone, so they aren't absolutely needed per se. They're great for the tourists and older folks and provide eyes and ears in the system.

Personally, I think this is pretty generous and a good deal for them, especially if they are keeping the same salary and benefits.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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2 hours ago, N6 Limited said:

Oh yeah! Did they silently end that program? Or was there an official announcement?

I don't remember ever reading anything official, those red jackets sort of just disappeared, and the SAs were back to sleeping in their booths lol

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1 minute ago, QM1to6Ave said:

I don't remember ever reading anything official, those red jackets sort of just disappeared, and the SAs were back to sleeping in their booths lol

I get union rules and all but how did they let them get away with this level of laziness for the past 4 years?

I watched another MTA employee ask someone in the booth to open the gate because they couldn’t reach their pass but it was in plain view (they were holding a lot of stuff) and the agent told them to do it themselves and have an attitude.

Seriously, where is the management???

Edited by Lawrence St
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2 minutes ago, Lawrence St said:

I get union rules and all but how did they let them get away with this level of laziness for the past 4 years?

I watched another MTA employee ask someone in the booth to open the gate because they couldn’t reach their pass but it was in plain view (they were holding a lot of stuff) and the agent told them to do it themselves and have an attitude.

Seriously, where is the management???

I spoke to a station supervisor once who said that it really depends on whether the station supervisor actually cares about supervising/disciplining the S/As in their stations.

But yeah, since covid, the S/As have had so little work to do and still give an attitude. Some have gotten good about getting NYPD to remove homeless folks sleeping on the floor, so that's a positive lol

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1 hour ago, Lawrence St said:

I get union rules and all but how did they let them get away with this level of laziness for the past 4 years?

I watched another MTA employee ask someone in the booth to open the gate because they couldn’t reach their pass but it was in plain view (they were holding a lot of stuff) and the agent told them to do it themselves and have an attitude.

Seriously, where is the management???

 

1 hour ago, QM1to6Ave said:

I spoke to a station supervisor once who said that it really depends on whether the station supervisor actually cares about supervising/disciplining the S/As in their stations.

But yeah, since covid, the S/As have had so little work to do and still give an attitude. Some have gotten good about getting NYPD to remove homeless folks sleeping on the floor, so that's a positive lol

Part of it is that the (MTA) planned to eliminate those jobs. Not only that, but they are supposed to use their passes to get in.  If they are buzzed in, it's done solely as a courtesy, so that person is going by the book.

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So basically, replace the number of token booths systemwide, with a handful of "customer service" booths at the more/higher utilized stations in the system....

This sounds like a combination of duties of station agents & customer service reps... Everybody's talking about the phasing out of S/A's, but this also looks to potentially be a way of cutting down on the number of CSR's the MTA currently employs.... Downsizing across the board like a mf-er :(

Edited by B35 via Church
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1 hour ago, B35 via Church said:

So basically, replace the number of token booths systemwide, with a handful of "customer service" booths at the more/higher utilized stations in the system....

This sounds like a combination of duties of station agents & customer service reps... Everybody's talking about the phasing out of S/A's, but this also looks to potentially be a way of cutting down on the number of CSR's the MTA currently employs.... Downsizing across the board like a mf-er :(

It is. They hinted at it years ago when I met with them. We were chatting on the side about OMNY and someone I was talking to was also talking about how they plan on phasing out a number of positions. They didn't say this directly, but it's pretty clear what they are doing. It came up because I was complaining about them doing away with coins on express buses before OMNY was rolled out and it was mentioned that their plan is to do away with coins entirely on all buses (local buses too). I'm using this as an example because by doing away with coins, you can eliminate those jobs. They keep data on everything (they know how many people pay with coins on the buses) and so they are always analyzing everything to see what they can cut. It's either this or no job at all because they are not going back to having S/As handling cash. Those days are over.

I expect the people that service the SBS machines to be next up once OMNY is fully implemented.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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59 minutes ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

It is. They hinted at it years ago when I met with them. We were chatting on the side about OMNY and someone I was talking to was also talking about how they plan on phasing out a number of positions. They didn't say this directly, but it's pretty clear what they are doing. It came up because I was complaining about them doing away with coins on express buses before OMNY was rolled out and it was mentioned that their plan is to do away with coins entirely on all buses (local buses too). I'm using this as an example because by doing away with coins, you can eliminate those jobs. They keep data on everything (they know how many people pay with coins on the buses) and so they are always analyzing everything to see what they can cut. It's either this or no job at all because they are not going back to having S/As handling cash. Those days are over.

I expect the people that service the SBS machines to be next up once OMNY is fully implemented.

It was explained to some of my colleagues many years ago. RIF, aka reduction in the workforce, was one way to reduce costs for the (MTA) . OPTO on the subways. ATO ( automated train operations) .on the subway. Eliminate the station agents. Money train is history. On the LIRR there used to be ticket agents at every station. Then it dropped to limited hours. Now it looks like Ronkonkoma, Babylon, Hicksville, Jamaica, Atlantic Terminal and Pennsylvania Station are all that’s left. The day after the last blackout I told some of my supervisor friends that they were warned about the potential dangers awaiting us. Evacuation of a railroad train or subway is cumbersome and dangerous for a train crew, depending on the circumstances,. Like we were told the safest position in NYCT to be in was the surface B/O position. My experience. Carry on.

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42 minutes ago, Trainmaster5 said:

It was explained to some of my colleagues many years ago. RIF, aka reduction in the workforce, was one way to reduce costs for the (MTA) . OPTO on the subways. ATO ( automated train operations) .on the subway. Eliminate the station agents. Money train is history. On the LIRR there used to be ticket agents at every station. Then it dropped to limited hours. Now it looks like Ronkonkoma, Babylon, Hicksville, Jamaica, Atlantic Terminal and Pennsylvania Station are all that’s left. The day after the last blackout I told some of my supervisor friends that they were warned about the potential dangers awaiting us. Evacuation of a railroad train or subway is cumbersome and dangerous for a train crew, depending on the circumstances,. Like we were told the safest position in NYCT to be in was the surface B/O position. My experience. Carry on.

....and the Ronkonkoma (especially) and the Babylon ones are pretty forgettable.... Sometimes I forget that Ronkonkoma even has a booth/agent; it's too tucked away in the back, behind those stores..... I do wonder though, whenever they completely finish revamping Mineola station, if an agent will be placed back there....

As an aside, it's interesting that the riding public isn't authorized to find out information pertaining to purchasing tickets at LIRR ticket offices... Smfh...

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2 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

It was explained to some of my colleagues many years ago. RIF, aka reduction in the workforce, was one way to reduce costs for the (MTA) . OPTO on the subways. ATO ( automated train operations) .on the subway. Eliminate the station agents. Money train is history. On the LIRR there used to be ticket agents at every station. Then it dropped to limited hours. Now it looks like Ronkonkoma, Babylon, Hicksville, Jamaica, Atlantic Terminal and Pennsylvania Station are all that’s left. The day after the last blackout I told some of my supervisor friends that they were warned about the potential dangers awaiting us. Evacuation of a railroad train or subway is cumbersome and dangerous for a train crew, depending on the circumstances,. Like we were told the safest position in NYCT to be in was the surface B/O position. My experience. Carry on.

That term "Reduction in Force" (RIF) is very common in the financial world. First time I heard it in fact, but same idea as the (MTA) in that they don't intend to replace those jobs down the line. They want to permanently eliminate them.  That is something the  (MTA) has to do because their operating costs are set to increase in the coming years, which is tied mainly to rising labor costs. Years ago I saw a buddy of mine of one of my alumni networking dinners. He worked for a major bank, but dealt with back of house operations. As you probably know, those jobs tend to be the ones eliminated when the finance sector looks to cut.  Similar situation with the (MTA), but they are going further looking to also front of house operations, to the extent possible.  Cutting frequencies and spans of bus service, cutting back on S/As, etc. The unions really need to be focusing on everything, because I can tell you right now that the (MTA) is looking at everything from an operating standpoint.

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2 hours ago, Via Garibaldi 8 said:

That term "Reduction in Force" (RIF) is very common in the financial world. First time I heard it in fact, but same idea as the (MTA) in that they don't intend to replace those jobs down the line. They want to permanently eliminate them.  That is something the  (MTA) has to do because their operating costs are set to increase in the coming years, which is tied mainly to rising labor costs. Years ago I saw a buddy of mine of one of my alumni networking dinners. He worked for a major bank, but dealt with back of house operations. As you probably know, those jobs tend to be the ones eliminated when the finance sector looks to cut.  Similar situation with the (MTA), but they are going further looking to also front of house operations, to the extent possible.  Cutting frequencies and spans of bus service, cutting back on S/As, etc. The unions really need to be focusing on everything, because I can tell you right now that the (MTA) is looking at everything from an operating standpoint.

RIF, aka “do more with less “ was a phrase my mother used when she was working for the Defense Department. I had a high school teacher who would tell us about the dangers of widespread automation. His example was the CitiCard. He said that widespread use of the technology would lead to the loss of bank teller jobs for many  female graduates . He also added sales department jobs in department stores to the list as well as technology jobs ( computers ) as a reason to add to his list of disappearing jobs. It’s taken 60 years but his warning is finally being taken seriously. I’m fascinated by some of the posts I see in the subway forums about ridership levels and jobs coming back to pre-covid levels. The long term scenario is less rush hour riders will be using the transit system in the future. WFH in general is the future. After 9/11 many jobs left lower Manhattan for the outer boroughs, the Jersey side of the Hudson and out toward Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The subsidized WTC was the glue that kept lower Manhattan alive. It’s a vicious cycle being played out long term but many people refuse to see it. Look at the ancillary businesses in Midtown shopping areas, and even the major retailers who have given up the ghost and shuttered their doors for good. I don’t think the remaining businesses and tourism can stop the downward spiral. Just my opinion. I could be totally wrong but long term it appears that my elders were on to something.  Something to think about.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. Carry on.

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8 hours ago, Trainmaster5 said:

RIF, aka “do more with less “ was a phrase my mother used when she was working for the Defense Department. I had a high school teacher who would tell us about the dangers of widespread automation. His example was the CitiCard. He said that widespread use of the technology would lead to the loss of bank teller jobs for many  female graduates . He also added sales department jobs in department stores to the list as well as technology jobs ( computers ) as a reason to add to his list of disappearing jobs. It’s taken 60 years but his warning is finally being taken seriously. I’m fascinated by some of the posts I see in the subway forums about ridership levels and jobs coming back to pre-covid levels. The long term scenario is less rush hour riders will be using the transit system in the future. WFH in general is the future. After 9/11 many jobs left lower Manhattan for the outer boroughs, the Jersey side of the Hudson and out toward Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The subsidized WTC was the glue that kept lower Manhattan alive. It’s a vicious cycle being played out long term but many people refuse to see it. Look at the ancillary businesses in Midtown shopping areas, and even the major retailers who have given up the ghost and shuttered their doors for good. I don’t think the remaining businesses and tourism can stop the downward spiral. Just my opinion. I could be totally wrong but long term it appears that my elders were on to something.  Something to think about.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. Carry on.

The reality is it's true. My boss made the decision this year, but we discussed it last year in fact and I was against it, so I said let's stick with hybrid and see how it goes (the thinking was that eventually COVID would go away and we would resume normal office operations, so I wanted to stay in the mix), but then I had some months to think about it and from a productivity standpoint for the department I run, it made more sense to work remotely. For me it was like a pay raise in fact because I spend less money, but I also generate more money, as I can focus more on niche sectors.  I get far more done now because I don't have to travel and I save a ton of money, even with my increased expenses working from home in my office. Sure my ConEd bill is higher, but that's the only negative. There are so many positives. I can pretty much work from anywhere at anytime I want, including overseas, which I plan on doing next year. One of my colleagues had set up his office well on into the pandemic, but I did not, as I did not like the idea of mixing work with my home life, but I have quickly adapted. I set up an actual office and converted my dining room and closed it off from my living room, and I have enacted rules about when the office computer gets shut down.

You mentioned banks... They too are doing the same thing... They are cutting back on branch space (I do business with a number of banks that are doing this now) and consolidating precisely because of tech and how people now bank vs. in the past and the move to a cashless society. NYC as a whole is looking and has started to convert commercial space into residential, especially Downtown. Mayor Adams talked earlier on about bringing white collar workers like myself back because we spend money commuting, buying lunch, dinner, etc., but it is not happening. Another positive I love. I can cook here at home and work simultaneously or order out, but it's still cheaper. No money spent commuting. 

Another little secret.... It helps to offset increases due to inflation. To be clear though, some companies will go back to in-person work, but either remote or hybrid will remain. Too many positives, not just for the workers, but for the companies as well, particularly from a operational cost standpoint.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8
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