NEW YORK (WABC) -- The MTA says its relatively new group of subway station managers over the past year has dealt with and solved more than 62,000 issues at its 472 stations, many of which have been resolved through personal contact with the public.
James LaMorte, manager at the Bowling Green Subway Station in Lower Manhattan, is one of the 22 group station managers who oversee anywhere between 15 and 20 stations.
"We are doing OK," LaMorte said. "It's tough, challenging, but every day it's adventurous. And every day is a different thing."
After the first full year of the new Group Station Manager Program, MTA officials revealed that 62,000 maintenance and cleaning issues have been addressed, along with deep cleaning 100 stations and making improvements at more than 200.
"I want New Yorkers to know that we have their backs while we work to make this thing better, and we will," NYC Transit President Andy Byford said.
The top six categories of station problems addressed by GSMs -- in both customer and employee areas -- break down as follows:
1. Lighting - 12,880 issues fixed (including replacement of fixtures and ballasts, and all electrical repairs)
2. Masonry - 8,813 issues fixed (including repairs to wall tiles, floor tiles, tactile surfaces, stair treads, and concrete platform)
3. Carpentry - 8,076 issues fixed (including bench repairs, stairwell repairs, other woodwork)
4. Plumbing - 7,464 issues fixed (including drain clearing, bathroom repairs, pipe repairs)
5. Painting - 5,267 issues fixed (including replacement over graffiti, spot painting, scraping and general painting)
6. Tinsmithing - 4,915 issues fixed (including trash canister repair, installation or removal)
Having been a Group Station Manager in London and introducing it in Toronto before coming to head NYC Transit, Byford wants the managers to be the go-to-person customers and riders can turn to any time and anywhere.
"Our group station managers and our stations teams as a whole are some of the brightest jewels in the transit crown," he said. "I am incredibly proud of them."
Several of the group station managers are looking to change the subway culture through the ability to manage and a passion for customer service.
"Every day is a challenge," group station manager Germaine Jackson said. "I start my day looking at my emails, looking at red-flag items that I need to follow up on when I get to work, interact with my team, my night forces."
GSM Mike Brown says you have to put yourself in the customers' shoes.
"Be mindful of the customer and how they perceive their day and their experience in the system," he said.
Riders will find the picture of group station managers in the station, along with a way to contact them by email.
Tens of thousands of improvements, ranging from lighting and masonry to carpentry, plumbing and painting are clearly noticeable.
"Now, some of the employees will send me countless pictures of what they have done and how they are improving the stations," group station manager Sandrea Flowers said.
Riders are noticing as well.
"All the cleaning up in certain areas and times," one rider said. "And you can see this is a good example they are doing a good job."
They are also able to address problems more quickly, even involving other agencies.
"We have a good working program with the NYPD and different social services to handle the different challenges that enter our system," Jackson said.