CTA Insider on role of the "customer assistant"
Here's another contribution from our anonymous "CTA Insider," telling us about the CTA's "customer assistants." (Email me or click comments below to post a question for him/her.)
The "CA" (customer assistant) position was made to cover the "ticket agent" position that was being phased out.
What happened was the ticket agent was a money-handling job. With the new fare machines being implemented, that was turned into a graveyard of employees who were picking that job and they were grandfathered into the position. As it is those employees hadn't been picking the RTO (rail transit operator) position in decades in some instances. They would need to be retrained as RTOs ... and these are not the people you want running your railroad. Age was a factor too.
So the union made a deal to save those jobs and leave them in jobs that they were most comfortable with -- though those jobs may not be the best for them. (Many times I've cringed at the CAs' responses to simple questions).
It is also a training position for new hires when no spots are open in RTO training.
About the dogs: The K9s were under outside contracts that I believe have run out and may be up for bid now or they feel they don't need them anymore. There were many customer complaints about the dogs' treatment and the handlers training was brought into question.
I got hit in the leg by the muzzle on one dog as he lunged at me and the handler thought it was funny (untrained dog + untrained handler = LAWSUITS!!!)
Now we have badly paid security guards with no weapons guarding equipment that no one can steal. (They are not there for the people.)