The Metropolitan Transit Authority recently debuted an automatic queuing system at Penn Station that directs customers headed east on the Long Island Rail Road to the window staffed by next available ticket clerk.
Customers and ticket agents have already started to see the value of the new system, with shorter lines and a speedier sales process at each of the 12 available ticket windows.
“Customers can definitely see a difference in waiting time, as do our ticket clerks, and both have welcomed the innovation,” said Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams.
The new system has customers stand in a central ticket line. When an agent becomes available, he or she sets off the signal that simultaneously lights up the window number, sounds a bell and prompts a recorded voice that directs the customer to their counter. When there is no clerk working at a window, the screen clearly displays the word “closed.”
“It’s terrific and stops confusion on the line and helps overall efficiency,” said ticket clerk Joseph LaRosa, a railroad employee for 12 years. “It helps customers realize that we have more windows open, and it is more professional than yelling ‘Next!’ into the microphone.”