Monday, December 29, 2014

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Union Urges MTA To Bring The Booths Back

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TWC News: Union Urges MTA To "Bring The Booths Back"
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The transit workers union is refusing to give up on fighting for the return of token booth clerks throughout the subway system and made their latest push Thursday across the city. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

They're not giving up.

The MTA has closed almost 180 subway token booths since 2010, but the Transport Workers Union Local 100 wants them reopened and staffed with its members.

"Things go wrong, and who do you look for? The cops can't be everywhere in the whole entire system and the public really does rely on us," said TWU Local 100 Member Paul Flores.

On Thursday, the union and several politicians rallied to restore token booths at stations where they've been closed, saying the workers provide a needed service to straphangers and serve as the system's eyes and ears.

"Machines can't do the job that we do. They're constantly out of service," said TWU Local 100 Member Derick Echevarria.

The MTA says it has no plans to reopen any booths, and that at least one booth is staffed in each of the system's 468 stations.

That didn't stop transit workers from collecting signatures for a petition calling for the booths to be restored.

The union says station agents and token booth clerks serve a valuable purpose, and many New Yorkers seem to agree.

"It's not the most pressing issue for me, to be honest. I think there needs to be more money invested in repairs, but I think it brings jobs," said one straphanger.

"I noticed some people have problems getting on the train, getting through the token booths and they need somebody to talk to, but nobody's here to talk to," said another straphanger.

One woman who spoke with NY1 Thursday turned to a token booth clerk for help after her Metrocard became fussy.

"I tried through get the turnstile after purchasing a Metrocard with more value. I wouldn't have been able to get through probably as easily without her," said the straphanger.

In the future, the MTA says, that assistance will come from its Help Point intercoms that can connect riders to the nearest station agent or dispatchers. The agency is in the process of installing the intercoms at more than 100 stations over the next year and a half.

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