CTA to hold job fair Saturday to fill 700 rail station customer-service positions

[Note: I saw this news release in my inbox this morning, so just to get this out there quickly, I'm doing a straight-up copy/paste.]

In a plan designed to better serve Chicago Transit Authority rail customers and promote job opportunities for Chicagoans, the CTA will host its second job fair on Saturday as part of an initiative to hire as many as 700 people to provide customer assistance at ‘L’ stations throughout the city.

The new Customer Service Assistant (CSA) positions will aid rail station customers in a variety of ways, from answering questions and helping customers with disabilities to handling and reporting problems with station equipment and facilities.

The second CSA job fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Clemente High School. The first fair, held last month at JLM Life Center on the West Side, attracted more than 2,900 job seekers.

“These 700 new positions are more than just jobs—they represent 700 opportunities to boost household incomes, to help parents, many of them Chicagoans, put food on the table and pay bills for their families,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “Mayor Emanuel and I are committed to providing the best customer service to our passengers, and are pleased to be able to hire more individuals to help fulfill that goal.”

The new CSAs will complement CTA’s existing staff of approximately 200 full-time Customer Assistants, who are assigned to the busiest rail stations and at peak ridership hours, including those along the CTA’s two 24-hour rail lines, the Red and Blue lines.

The new, part-time CSA positions will ensure staffing at all of the CTA’s 145 rail stations. Most CSAs will work during lower-traffic hours where privately contracted workers are currently used, with expanded job duties and additional training to better serve customers. Both Customer Assistants—who will receive a new job title of Customer Service Representative—and CSAs will have direct contact with CTA’s Control Center, to assist in providing information about service issues and other customer information.

The new jobs stem from the historic labor agreement reached in November 2012 between CTA and the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus and rail workers.

CSAs will be paid between $12 and $14 hourly, and receive health care benefits. The workers will be members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local #308, which represents rail workers.

The new positions mark the second time in less than a year the CTA has hosted job fairs seeking candidates for customer-facing positions. Last summer, CTA hosted three job fairs seeking more than 400 bus drivers in conjunction with the Red Line South reconstruction project beginning in May. Those 400+ have been hired, and the CTA continues to hire candidates from those fairs to fill other driver vacancies.

CTA has used rail Customer Assistants since 1997, when ticket agents were phased out as CTA moved toward electronic fare cards.

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  • What isn't explained by CTA (and won't be) is how it got so much to use of contract workers, and how employees are more economical.

    I usually found the CAs to be courteous (maybe overly so), but we now find out that we didn't know if they were actually working for the CTA.

  • Lol what? How can someone be "overly courteous"?

  • In reply to Rob M:

    In the instance I was recalling, hovering over me at the transit vending machine and asking if I needed assistance just because the dollar bill got a bit wrinkled going into the slot. I eventually straightened it out. But he was very polite.

    Now, if some of them could get the panhandlers to scram away from the machines (another station), that would also help. I assume that the panhandlers know that people are going to show money while stuffing the machine to get a fare card.

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