Transit will close 70 station booths across the subway system
Times Square, Grand Central Station and Penn Station — already a confusing maze — are set to lose transit agents by July as part of a plan to cut 600 workers and 70 token booths, according to documents obtained Thursday by amNewYork.Other stations that are slated to lose agents and kiosks include remote stops such as Clinton-Washington in Brooklyn and 174th Street in the Bronx on the D line, resulting in a safety concern for straphangers.
“Cops cannot do it all, even if they’re there,” said Fernando Gonzales, 48, a Bronx rider.
The number of personnel in the system has dwindled since the MetroCard was introduced in 1994. There were 3,500 station agents more than a decade ago, but now, in an effort to save $21 million, the MTA is hoping to cull down the force to 2,500.
“How much area can one set of eyes cover? I think they are out of their mind,” said Maurice Jenkins, a union representative for stations.
Meanwhile, an annual report released yesterday by an MTA riders advisory group slammed the agency for a lack of managers to oversee its busiest stations. Station managers are often locked away in remote offices or only on-duty at certain times, according to members of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.
“It is a safety concern, definitely,” said Ellyn Shannon, a committee representative.
An MTA spokesman pointed to the role of transit police in keeping crime down and added that customers with questions should call the agency’s information line at 718-330-3322.
Julia Borovskaya contributed to this story.
The advisory committee’s report also criticized the MTA for:
- Being too slow in replacing MetroCards with a higher tech payment device.
- Failing to install public address systems throughout the subways.
- Building the South Ferry Station with design flaws.