Subway managers on the No. 4 line have enlisted college interns to pose as subway riders and grade token booth clerks on their courtesy levels. It's unclear why the study, which was called "Operation Courtesy," was restricted to the 4 line, but NYC Transit spokesman Charles Seaton says, "It's like a mystery shopper program," in which storeowners' send fake shoppers to review staff. It's also unclear why the MTA needs to conduct an undercover sting to verify that workers can be gruff. But to be fair, we've found many of booth clerks to be exceptionally pleasant, considering they spend their days underground in a tiny box.
The results of the summer study are still being compiled, but—are you sitting down?—a few MTA token booth clerks "were found to have poor manners." Given the MTA's decision to close down the booths in many stations, you could understand why morale might be a little low. And now they're being spied on? Seaton tells the Daily News Operation Courtesy won't lead to any disciplinary action, but "some have been spoken to on an informal basis."