An investigation has been launched by the MTA after an outraged rider recently captured a photo of a subway booth attendant who appears to have been sleeping on the job. NY1's John Mancini filed the following report.
Questions are being raised after a regular R train rider says he saw a booth worker at the City Hall station last week dozing off one too many times, and snapped a picture to document what looked like a snooze.
"It's terrible. Anything can happen in the subways these days. It's really bad. Sad. If that was me, I'd be fired by now," said one straphanger.
The booth agent, who is a veteran of nearly 20 years with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, now faces an investigation.
In a statement, the agency said, "Such behavior will not be tolerated by MTA New York City Transit and it is deeply disturbing to us that an employee would fall asleep during their assigned shift."
The Transit Workers Union said the station agent in question has a spotless record, adding, "The union has his back...We just want to point out that perception isn't always reality."
As if it's not bad enough that somebody who is supposed to be the eyes and ears of the system appears to be sleeping on the job, what makes this case possibly worse is that he is doing it steps away from a city landmark identified as a potential terror target.
City Hall was where union leaders protested the layoff of more than 200 booth workers. At public hearings, riders joined in warning the cuts would leave them vulnerable. But the sight of a worker looking like he's napping splits New Yorkers who pay fares from those who collect them.
"Makes me angry," said one straphanger. "Right now we have lot of people that are out of work, and who want work, who would do diligent jobs. And we're talking about the subway where we're facing another raise of the fares after we have all the services cut."
When NY1 showed the picture to the booth agent -- who wouldn't give his name -- he denied sleeping and offered a rambling explanation for his slumbering pose.
"I always check money and everything else and look at it carefully, because I've found errors in the money, there are, slightly misprints, what do you call. In fact, I've shown clerks the same, what I've found. And as I've said, I could have been looking at it closely like this," said the booth agent.
In coming days, officials will be looking more closely as well to see if his overnight shift has been on the money.