For Dwane Boothman, who’s worked as a station agent for 19 years, the inside of his subway booth at the Atlantic Avenue Barclays Center station is a safe haven.
Yet as part of a new deal involving the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100, station agents systemwide must now spend part of their shift outside the booth to offer customer service face to face.
Boothman admits while this new responsibility can present an element of danger, he believes the MTA has set up a decent system to reduce the likelihood of any violence.
What You Need To Know
- An agreement between MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100 led to $1 more an hour for station agents and responsibilities outside the booth
- There will be some out of the booth responsibilities, which include being a friendly face to help customers with OMNY equipment near turnstiles, give directions, or resolve confusion when it comes to working a self-service vending machine
- As part of the MTA’s commitment to not phase out the more than 2,000 station agents systemwide, the MTA hired nearly 300 new station agents over the past year — with plans to hire about 230 more next year
“We [are going to] always have two people at the station,” said Boothman. “So one is gonna be inside the booth, one is gonna be outside, so we gonna have if anything happens, god forbid, we have our backup person, you know we have an ABCS in there, that’s like an emergency system, they can press that.”
With more riders at subway stations and on buses taking advantage of the MTA’s digital OMNY system, which allows riders to instantly buy trips at turnstiles with credit cards, debit cards, and smartphones, many station agents feared their jobs would be phased out by technology.
But after reaching a deal with the TWU, Richard Davey, president of the New York City Transit, sought to reassure station agents that their jobs were safe.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be here to announce this historic agreement,” he said.
In addition, the TWU says station agents will earn an extra $1 an hour.
Some of their out of the booth responsibilities, which include being a friendly face to help customers with OMNY equipment near turnstiles, give directions, or resolve confusion over the self-service vending machine.
Boothman lives in the Graniteville section of Staten Island, and he told NY1 with a family that includes several kids to support, he is glad to have some peace of mind when it comes to job security.
“The TWU 100 secured our position and kinda talked to us and let us know we’re here,” said Boothman. “They need us!”
As part of the MTA’s commitment to not phase out the more than 2,000 station agents systemwide, the MTA hired nearly 300 new station agents over the past year — with plans to hire about 230 more next year.