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December 16, 2018

Conductors told to close doors fast, tell riders to find help elsewhere

November 29, 2018
MTA subway conductors were given new rules to save time. (Craig Warga)

Your conductor is not being rude, just following the rules.

Courteous conductors are being told to never hold the doors open to let riders dash to a new train across platforms during rush hours.




And if you’re lost and in need of direction, tell it to the intercom. Conductors are now being told to point riders to blue-lit Help Points, information kiosks or other MTA station workers, to answer questions.

It’s all part of the MTA’s effort to cut seconds from the time a train sits in a station, and to keep them flowing.

An eight-point memo Monday obtained by the Daily News gives conductors a refresher on “optimal operation.”

One instruction tells conductors to never hold train doors open for transfers between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Another point instructs conductors to tell riders to ask questions to the MTA’s customer-friendly Wayfinders staff, station agents, platform workers or kiosks and intercoms.

Straphangers are resigned.

“If I ask a question, they’re always happy to oblige,” commuter Misch Enriquez told The News as she stepped onto an uptown No. 6 train at Grand Central.

Justice Patterson, a Manhattan high school student at Grand Central, said he’d be annoyed to see his transferring train pull out before he can step onto the platform.

But he admitted he’d be just as annoyed waiting in a station for other commuters to make their transfer.

“It depends on where you are in the situation,” he said. “I guess it keeps the trains going. If they’re not held up, more trains will come faster.”

The notice against holding the doors open for rush hour transfers is a reminder to conductors, but telling confused riders to ask other MTA staff is a new instruction, according to MTA spokesman Shams Tarek.

“It’s called ‘Save Safe Seconds’ to reinforce to customers and personnel alike that safety is always the top priority, even as we work to improve performance and reduce delays,” Tarek said in a statement.

John Ferretti, an subway conductor and union shop steward, disagreed with the MTA, arguing that management is telling staff to speed up operations, like closing the doors as quick as possible, without emphasizing safety enough.

He also thinks riders will get the shaft under the new directive.

“Conductors are supposed to be involved in customer service,” he said. “To tell them to go to a kiosk is just a failure of customer service.”




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