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Hi, I would like to know how are Metra ticket agents at outlaying stations supervised are they supervied by telephone, or regular visits? How do ticket agents at outlaying stations get company mail, (memoes, employ anoucements, notices ect,ect)? And finally on the Metra lines operated by

up and BNSF are the ticket agents Metra or BNSF/UP emploies even though they were Metra uniforms? Please let me know thank you.

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Hi, I would like to know how are Metra ticket agents at outlaying stations supervised are they supervied by telephone, or regular visits? How do ticket agents at outlaying stations get company mail, (memoes, employ anoucements, notices ect,ect)? And finally on the Metra lines operated by

up and BNSF are the ticket agents Metra or BNSF/UP emploies even though they were Metra uniforms? Please let me know thank you.

They are supervised by regular visits from the district Customer Service Managers and their assistants. Company mail is delivered via train. One morning train daily is responsible for bringing company mail from downtown to outlying stations. Hot news is often faxed.

BNSF and UP agents are BNSF and UP employees governed by rules, procedures and operations of those railroads.

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One more question and that is how come the conductor assigned to the "mail car" wares street clothes as opposed to the conductors uniform? Please let me know thank you.

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One more question and that is how come the conductor assigned to the "mail car" wares street clothes as opposed to the conductors uniform? Please let me know thank you.

I do not know of any conductors that wear street clothes while working on the train. Usually, the lead of the crew (usually 2 members) handles the mail. However, it is possible that a person from customer service is involved. When they have schedules and heavy parcels, they will do the mail deliveries for that day. This applies to Metra owned lines. As for the UP and BNSF, they may have entirely different procedures in who actually is dropping off the mail at stations along the way. In the cases of the Metra owned lines, there is an extra $10 added to the Conductor position for handling mail daily.

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I do not know of any conductors that wear street clothes while working on the train. Usually, the lead of the crew (usually 2 members) handles the mail. However, it is possible that a person from customer service is involved. When they have schedules and heavy parcels, they will do the mail deliveries for that day. This applies to Metra owned lines. As for the UP and BNSF, they may have entirely different procedures in who actually is dropping off the mail at stations along the way. In the cases of the Metra owned lines, there is an extra $10 added to the Conductor position for handling mail daily.

The only person I know who wears street clothing while working for Metra are the engineers. I don't now this for a fact, but it is possible an engineer that is cushioning back to his home base may double as the mail carrier. Or it could be just a customer service person. I believe both of these scenerios would involve UP and BNSF only.

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Does Metra have ticket machines? I understand that not all stations have tickect agents. I know they are going to do that with Northstar Commuter Rail Line at all the stations.
The only ones are on the Metra Electric, since they inherited the system from the Illinois Central, which had done away with its agents (at least on the city lines) around 1972. There used to be barrier gates there too, but were removed when the passengers claimed they made them second class citizens (and the system was wearing out and would have needed replacement).

The rest of the lines don't have machines. Agent hours vary (i.e. suburban stations usually only have them in the morning), and if a station is too small to have an agent, or the agent is not on duty, you pay the conductor.

If there is an agent on duty, there is a $2 surcharge for paying the conductor. My impression is that it is also charged if you don't use the machine, where available.

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....and if a station is too small to have an agent, or the agent is not on duty, you pay the conductor.

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That reminds me of something: Back in 2005 I was at one of the Metra Stations without a TVM, I looked around for one and looked inside this large plastic pod shaped thing with a hinged top on the platform, no machine inside of course but what are those big green or black plastic things with the lids for? I saw at least one at each station on the way in. Garbage or train supplies perhaps?

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Back to the topic:

How do the conductors determine if someone gets on at a station without a TVM or agent? It seems like if the train was crowded someone could get on and try to ride for free, then if asked for proof of payment say they got on at one of the stations without a TVM or agent :unsure:

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That reminds me of something: Back in 2005 I was at one of the Metra Stations without a TVM, I looked around for one and looked inside this large plastic pod shaped thing with a hinged top on the platform, no machine inside of course but what are those big green or black plastic things with the lids for? I saw at least one at each station on the way in. Garbage or train supplies perhaps?

-----

Back to the topic:

How do the conductors determine if someone gets on at a station without a TVM or agent? It seems like if the train was crowded someone could get on and try to ride for free, then if asked for proof of payment say they got on at one of the stations without a TVM or agent :unsure:

I saw the big plastic things, too, but don't know.

I'm pretty sure the conductors know the agent's hours (i.e. outer ones close about 1 p.m.) and what stations don't have agents. Also, you are supposed to display your ticket on the seat clip. My experience has been that the $2 is usually collected out of Chicago Union Station and similar downtown ones, which are always open, not on inbound trips.

However, I did have a back and forth with trainman about how people on short trips (i.e. not going downtown) sometimes don't get asked for their tickets, but trainman said that they are supposed to collect the shorts. Being a conductor, he can better respond to that.

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-----

That reminds me of something: Back in 2005 I was at one of the Metra Stations without a TVM, I looked around for one and looked inside this large plastic pod shaped thing with a hinged top on the platform, no machine inside of course but what are those big green or black plastic things with the lids for? I saw at least one at each station on the way in. Garbage or train supplies perhaps?

-----

Back to the topic:

How do the conductors determine if someone gets on at a station without a TVM or agent? It seems like if the train was crowded someone could get on and try to ride for free, then if asked for proof of payment say they got on at one of the stations without a TVM or agent :unsure:

Plastic pods are storage bins for salt.

As you work a district, you learn which stations have agents (or vending machines) and which ones don't. Generally agents are on duty until approximately 1:00 pm at the outlying stations. If a station is open or closed a bulletin is posted at the initial terminal. People will often get on a crowded train and get a freebie....it is next to impossible to zero in on everyone all of the time. But there are tricks...such as remembering how many seats were occupied (either on window or aisle) if the upper level is full or not...remembering types of clothing...are the people older or younger. The newbies tend to stand out. There are those who will hide in the bathroom and run from car to car to avoid a conductor. At least those don't have a comfortable ride. But you can bet if you see someone get on one day and get away with something, it will be the last time, because they are then on the radar and you tend to look for them day in and day out. Some people will hit passengers twice if they know they were had (can't say I have done that).

Nothing is perfect. Don't think that machines, gates or credit card counters will change that...they won't. Metra lost a ton of money with the machines/gates on the 10 rides. People would often get 12, 13, 20 rides on a 10 ride because the rule of "the customer is right" and the inaccuracies of the gate counter prevailed. A rider could have 15 punches on a ticket, but because the gate reader read only 7, they always got the additional rides. It was a real pile of @$%^@$@#.

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Has a conductor or ticket agent been robbed?

Conductors have been robbed often. I would imagine ticket agents have been also, but

it is something you hear about less frequently.

In advance of a potential next question....only 1 Metra Conductor has been killed while

on duty, and that was at West Pullman during a robbery in the late 1990's. There is a

plaque of Mr. Hooten at Randolph Street next to the Lost and Found. There was a push

to have the Randolph Street station named after him, but it was rejected.

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I have three questions,

1.Dose anyone know why the Great Lakes Metra Station has office space for a ticket agent but no agent?

2. Will Metra assing a ticket agent to Great Lakes if so when?

3.Finally how come stations on the North Centeral Line do not have tick agents?

Please let me know thank you.

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I have three questions,

1.Dose anyone know why the Great Lakes Metra Station has office space for a ticket agent but no agent?

2. Will Metra assing a ticket agent to Great Lakes if so when?

3.Finally how come stations on the North Centeral Line do not have tick agents?

Please let me know thank you.

All 3 can be answered the same way. (1) money, (2) no because of money and (3) money.

Many stations have offices but no agents. Some of that stems from the time when railroads

ran the suburban service (ie. C&NW in the case of Great Lakes) and may have staffed them,

but stopped when carriers were going bankrupt. Metra never put them back. An example of

this would also be stations like Jefferson Park and Norwood Park on the Northwest Line.

I would not count on any new agents being assigned to anyplace that does not have one

currently....the clerk area is one that Metra has cut personnel over the past 18 months.

At the time the North Central was built, there were only 4 trains daily to and from Antioch.

It was felt that between ticket by mail 10-rides and monthlies along with the ability to

purchase same tickets at Union Station that would be sufficient. There are some cash

fare tickets done on the train, but surprisingly not out of control. Even many of the

students going from to/from school have 10-ride tickets...so the need for agents there

is still somewhat reduced.

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Also there was a booth built in the new Lake-Cook station, and there were complaints that it wasn't staffed, even though there were complaints about vagrants. The station page now indicates that there is an agent in the morning (I had only been through it in the afternoon).

Of course, Metra never updated its site that there actually now is a station in North Glenview, even though the picture of it is there.

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All 3 can be answered the same way. (1) money, (2) no because of money and (3) money.

BTW, if the RTA ever does implement the "smart bank card" idea, there will be little need for Metra ticket agents. Either riders will have the correct credit or debit card, or the only thing to sell would be "bank gift cards" with the chips. (Of course, I'm assuming that the vast majority of monthlies, which is the vast majority of Metra fares, would be by mail or over the web, similar to the Chicago Card Plus).

The last ATM card I got from Chase has a proximity chip in it, so if that's what bank the RTA decides to go with, I'm ready.

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Then can someone please explain why the college avenue station in wheaton used to not have a ticket agent but as of last summer Metra assinged an agent to work there? Please let me know thank you.

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Then can someone please explain why the college avenue station in wheaton used to not have a ticket agent but as of last summer Metra assinged an agent to work there? Please let me know thank you.
To be serious, are we required to account for every station in the system? Including one operated by UP?

In that College Ave. also lost its Pace feeder bus, there might be an indication that traffic isn't what it once was.

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To be serious, are we required to account for every station in the system? Including one operated by UP?

In that College Ave. also lost its Pace feeder bus, there might be an indication that traffic isn't what it once was.

Yes, even those operated by UP. And that still dose not answer my question.

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