Metrolinx GO Train station ambassadors have become a common presence on station platforms to improve safety and on-time performance during rush hours and special events.
From when the train is just approaching the platform to when it departs, they are walking up and down the platform, answering questions, greeting people and making themselves available for riders' convenience.
Station ambassadors also encourage riders to mind the yellow line on the platform edge and help contribute to a smooth disembarking and boarding of the train. They also discourage people from running up to a train after the doors have shut, which is a time when we have seen people trip and fall and injure themselves.
According to Laura-Gaye Moats, Metrolinx’s director of customer service delivery, when that happens, not only is it an unsafe situation for customers, it can also delay the train for everyone.
She also pointed to a situation where a station ambassador identified a person who was experiencing a mental health situation on the platform and made a successful intervention.
Moats said she believes the actions of that station ambassador helped save a life that day.
GO Train platform safety
The station ambassador role has evolved from selling tickets behind a wicket to being available on the platform now that ticket vending machines provide a self-serve option for paying fares.
The project began in late May at three stations – Bramalea, Clarkson and Whitby – and it expanded across the network in August to help manage the additional passenger traffic that traditionally accompanies the Canadian National Exhibition.
Station ambassadors are also equipped with devices allowing them to use the public address system directly from the platform.
This helps keep people safely back from the yellow line, especially when there are big crowds after events like concerts and sports games.
Moats said the new program is already delivering results, and that the agency is receiving positive feedback from commuters
“Things like ’this person made my day because they were they there, smiling and helpful,’” Moats said.