2001-07-14 / Editorial/Opinion

More Than Just Money

More Than Just Money

Managers love to save money. A million here, a million there and it soon starts to add up to real money. Lawrence Reuter is no different than other business managers, except that his business is the New York City Transit Authority. Reuter has a great way to save lots of money. His plan is to do away with subway token clerks and replace them with MetroCard machines. We understand that in the universe of managers that this move makes lots of sense because it saves lots of money. Machines do not get meal breaks and do not need health benefits and do not organize into unions. The plan, however, is ill advised. Token clerks do more than sell tokens. They answer questions. They provide direction to befuddled travlers. They provide protection to those who venture into the subway late at night. They are a safe haven, a place to flee when there are no police officers around in a threatening situation – or the perception of one. Installing roaming agents, as Reuter plans to do, will not serve the same purpose. There is more than just money involved in this decision. The safety and comfort of the riding public are also at stake..

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