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New MTA program offers customer service ambassadors to help with subway chaos

NEW YORK — Subway delays and cancellations are not anything new for commuting New Yorkers — but a new program being rolled out by the MTA may just help calm the chaos.

It’s called ICAP — which stands for Incidence Customer Assistance Program.

"ICAP is a team of head office people trained head office people who if we have a major service disruption and customers really need to know what’s going on we need more people," MTA Transit President Andy Byword said.

Jesse Goldman works in the finance division of the MTA and he was part of the “all hands on deck” mentality back in December during the subway terrorist attack.

Station agents at stations seeing the most cancelations, like Union Square, had their hands full and that’s when volunteers like Goldman stepped in.

"They have a lot to do," Goldman said. "They have to close off the booths, they have to make announcements, so having that extra hand to hand out tickets or handle the 20 people asking the same questions really helps them out."

Some critics questioned whether management type roles in these scenarios could potentially take jobs away from existing MTA workers, but Byword assures this would not happen.

"It's one team. We all help each other," Byword said. "I don't want to see my colleagues at the stations as struggling. Let’s give them some reinforcements."

Union officials PIX11 caught up with agreed.

"As far as the union is concerned, more power to management, you know, it helps relieve the stress of taking hundreds of way finders and bringing them somewhere, and then leaving the rest of the system unattended," said Joe Bermudez with the Transportation Workers Union of Greater NY.

ICAP shouldn’t be confused with Wayfinders, a pilot program of former station agents who help commuters and tourists find their way around our complex subway system.

That job is a full time gig, designed to protect station agents as technology begins to impede on their existing roles.