Subway and Streetcar Operators

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Also known as:
Light Rail Operator, Light Rail Transit Operator, Light Rail Vehicle Operator, Rapid Transit Operator, Subway Conductor, Subway Train Operator, Tram Operator, Trolley Car Operator

ABOUT SUBWAY OR STREETCAR OPERATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Every day, millions of riders use subways and streetcars, depending on them to run safely and on time. The people who help make that happen are subway and streetcar operators. Whether in underground tunnels, on elevated tracks, or the street itself, these conveyances are expected to follow a predetermined schedule.

With subways, functions like speed and station stops are increasingly controlled by computer, however, it's up to the operator to monitor the systems, ensuring they are all working properly. Operators also have to watch out for potential hazards, reporting delays and other problems to supervisors or dispatchers. In cases of emergency, operators are expected to calmly and efficiently direct riders to safety. Streetcar operators may collect fares and answer questions from passengers about schedules and routes.

Making public announcements is often part of the job. These transportation workers are usually employed by public transit authorities. Shifts include nights, weekends, and holidays. A high school education is usually required. Mass transit is the lifeblood or many of our cities and suburbs. Subway and streetcar operators play a major role in helping people get where they need to go.

SNAPSHOT
Operate subway or elevated suburban trains with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar, to transport passengers. May handle fares.
Leadership
LOW
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Direct emergency evacuation procedures.

Attend meetings on driver and passenger safety to learn ways in which job performance might be affected.

Complete reports, including shift summaries and incident or accident reports.

Make announcements to passengers, such as notifications of upcoming stops or schedule delays.

Operate controls to open and close transit vehicle doors.

Regulate vehicle speed and the time spent at each stop to maintain schedules.

Greet passengers, provide information, and answer questions concerning fares, schedules, transfers, and routings.

Drive and control rail-guided public transportation, such as subways, elevated trains, and electric-powered streetcars, trams, or trolleys, to transport passengers.

Report delays, mechanical problems, and emergencies to supervisors or dispatchers, using radios.

Monitor lights indicating obstructions or other trains ahead and watch for car and truck traffic at crossings to stay alert to potential hazards.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
TOP SKILLS
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.