"Subway station agents, once mandatory for selling tokens, have suffered a slow road toward obsolescence. Booth closings began earlier this decade, after transitofficials decided they were an antiquated antecedent to MetroCards and their colorful kiosks.
But riders said they liked having the agents around, particularly at night as a deterrent against crime. A compromise plan in 2005 reoriented the job toward customer service, placing some clerks outside the booths to better assist riders. Now that program is being wiped out."