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ICYMI: Governor Hochul Celebrates One Year of MTA Station Agents Assisting Riders Outside of Booths

Updated Apr 9, 2024 2:45 p.m.

Survey Reveals Customers Feel Safer and More Satisfied With Transit Experience After Interaction With Station Agents

Customer Service Centers to Expand Services and Assist in Reduced-Fare Enrollment

Five Station Agents Commended for Exceptional Customer Service

Photos of News Conference Here; Video of News Conference Here


Governor Kathy Hochul today celebrated one year since MTA station agents began their enhanced role of stepping out of booths and assisting riders with core customer service functions throughout the station such as providing wayfinding information, assisting at fare machines and informing new riders about contactless fare payment. This shift away from the booth-centered role, which dates to the era of tokens, modernized the role to better serve the needs of customers in a 21st century station environment and improve the customer experience. In just the past year, NYC Transit presented 208 commendations to station agents receiving positive feedback from customers between March 2023 and February 2024, compared to 33 commendations between March 2022 and February 2023, when agents began regularly leaving the booth.

“I am committed to making our subways safer and more accessible for the millions who rely on them each day,” Governor Hochul said. “Station agents are the first point of contact for riders in need of assistance, and their continual presence in our stations is delivering results for New Yorkers.”

As part of the enhanced customer service initiative, NYC Transit more efficiently deployed station agents throughout the system, delivering $10 million in annual savings while improving customer service and increasing hourly pay. Over the next few weeks, NYC Transit will gradually introduce additional services to the 15 Customer Service Centers (CSCs) in the subway system with capacity for customers to be able to apply for and receive on the spot a permanent Reduced-Fare MetroCard. Additional services, such as the ability to complete Fair Fares applications at CSCs, will be phased in over the coming months.

Since the transition out of the booth, the Fall 2023 Customers Count survey found that customers’ interactions with station agents were positive and particularly high among riders whose interactions had taken place outside of booths due to the more personable, tailored support provided. Additionally, customers who are satisfied with their station agent interaction were more likely to feel safe on platforms (52 percent vs 26 percent) and be satisfied with the subway overall (61 percent vs 31 percent).

NYC Transit President Richard Davey said, “This is a new era of customer service at NYC Transit, and station agents are at the center of it. It’s been one year since we pivoted away from booth-limiting customer service and the results have been impactful. Customers are not only more satisfied with the subway but report feeling safer, seeing these employees throughout their stations. While we recognized employees that have gone above and beyond today, all station agents have really stepped up to the plate in their new role. Customer satisfaction is the North Star and today highlights our progress to improve the customer experience and deliver faster, cleaner, and safer service.”

MTA Chief Customer Officer Shanifah Rieara said, “Station agents have been out of the booth for a year assisting riders with their transit needs and customer satisfaction has been rising as a result. The face-to-face interaction is priceless for improving the rider experience and it has had a meaningful impact on both New Yorkers and visitors alike. We look forward to building on this progress in the near future when riders will be able to apply for a Reduced-Fare MetroCard on the spot and the Fair Fares program.”

NYC Transit Department of Subways Senior Vice President Demetrius Crichlow said, “Station agents have always played a crucial role in assisting customers navigate the transit system, but now their assistance is not limited to one fixed location and the results are overwhelmingly positive, It goes to show how much value is added to the passenger experience by having agents out of the booth, including the ability to share valuable information on reduced fare options to ensure all passengers have access to affordable transportation.”

As part of the celebration, NYC Transit recognized five station agents for their exceptional customer service: Ruhul Amin, Nelson Chang, Matthew Patrick, Ruben Taylor and Rashelle McFadden. All these employees received a North Star pin as part of the Authority’s recently launched Employee Recognition Program to encourage outstanding customer service.

Station agents can now also engage in supportive roles as they did last month for the City’s largest one-day collective effort, recognized as Fair Fares Day of Action, to raise awareness of reduced fare options available and information on eligibility. In addition to the duties previously described, the new role has allowed station agents to provide customer support through:

  • Assistance for customers with disabilities and seniors
  • Customer service during service disruptions and major planned changes
  • OMNY guidance and information, including conversion and questions on use
  • Reduced fare guidance and information
  • 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

The shift complemented the construction of Customer Service Centers in every borough across the system. There are currently 15 Customer Service Centers, with more expected to open this year. For the list of current locations see here. These facilities are staffed 24/7 by New York City Transit station agents and provide services that historically were only provided exclusively at 3 Stone Street in Lower Manhattan.