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Keolis Commuter Services earlier this week graduated 27 new assistant conductors for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) commuter-rail network.The group, which completed the training program in Somerville, Massachusetts, was the largest class to graduate in the commuter-rail system's history, Keolis officials said in a press release. The students began their training in November 2017. The program emphasizes customer service and includes classroom instruction, exams, site visits to railroad facilities and time on board trains. The graduates leave the course with a "wide range of railroad and passenger experience knowledge," Keolis officials said."Our conductors are the face of our service, which is why we provide them with the training and tools necessary to help ensure passenger safety and a reliable service," said Keolis General Manager and Chief Executive Officer David Scorey. "We’re glad to have such a large class join our team. This will help improve the passenger experience by providing us with a larger team to service a network that’s added 6 percent more scheduled trains since Keolis operations began in 2014."Since 2014, the number of Keolis employees working for MBTA has grown 13 percent. That workforce includes additional conductors, engineers, mechanical staff and several other positions focused on improving the passenger experience. In a February 2017 Progressive Railroading article, Scorey noted there's a strong connection between on-time performance and the number of conductors and engineers on hand.
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