New Sounder station agents add friendly faces to daily commutes
Today, many Sounder commuters were greeted by Sound Transit’s new station agents on the train platforms. These new Sounder staff will be at each Sounder station to assist customers with things like buying tickets, directions, information about delays and emergencies, or help for disabled passengers. Station agents had their first official day on the platforms on Friday.
As Sounder ridership continues to grow rapidly, new riders in particular can sometimes use a hand buying tickets and navigating the system for the first time. Station agents will provide an added level of on-site customer service for Sounder riders.
“Sound Transit’s steps to make sure customers get the service they deserve gives them yet another reason to climb aboard and leave the traffic behind,” said Sound Transit Board Chair and Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. “We’re making it easy for people to improve their commutes and protect our natural environment.”
The biggest ridership increase among Sound Transit’s three modes was on Sounder commuter rail, with a 27.4 percent increase in 2007. This represents the fourth biggest commuter rail ridership increase in the nation for 2007, and was achieved in part by significant service increases Sound Transit implemented last year. New service included one new round trip on the north corridor serving Everett, Edmonds and Seattle and two on the south corridor serving Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, Auburn, Kent, Tukwila and Seattle. South corridor service increases included the first “reverse commute” train that runs from Seattle to Tacoma in the morning and returns northbound in the evening.
More Sounder trains will be added in September 2008, and Sounder ridership is expected to continue to grow. Sound Transit is currently working with the region’s communities to evaluate service priorities for a ballot measure in 2008 or thereafter to expand the regional transit system. Options include increasing Sounder service on the Tacoma-Seattle corridor by 90 percent by running more trains and longer trains. As more and more Puget Sound residents discover the convenience and comfort of Sounder commuter rail for their daily commute or for attending special events like Mariners and Seahawks games, station agents will be there to help make their Sounder ride safe, convenient, and comfortable.
The station agents will also help manage stations by reporting maintenance issues and offering an additional security presence. Having station agents allows for Sound Transit to re-deploy the fixed post security guards, offering greater flexibility to security staffing. Sound Transit will continue to use the roving patrols and police patrols at certain stations. The station agent program is in addition to our established security program and brings an additional presence to the stations.
Station agents will be at every Sounder station each weekday morning and for special event trains. On weekday afternoons, station agents will be at the seven Sounder stations along the south corridor between Seattle and Tacoma. A station agent will serve the new Mukilteo Station when in opens later this year.
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Sound Transit’s regional network of express buses, commuter rail, light rail and transit facilities connects communities in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.