Light Rail / Streetcar Operator

Track Car Operator, Tram Operator, Trolley Operator  

Light rail and streetcar operators operate light rail vehicles in mixed traffic. These workers must be alert for other vehicles and pedestrians, and ensure that customers reach their intended destinations safely and on time. Operators must be alert to track signals, potential maintenance problems, and obstacles on the track. They may have the opportunity to interact directly with passengers, and must make announcements, operate doors, and communicate with dispatchers and supervisors.

Light rail and streetcar operators usually report to dispatchers and supervisors, and may be promoted to those positions as well. Unlike their counterparts on long-distance passenger rail lines, they often work alone and may be subject to a good deal of stress from working in metropolitan areas.

Operators must be safety conscious and have the ability to stay alert for long periods of time. They must have good vision and hearing, as well as good communication, problem-solving, and customer service skills. Operators should be familiar with rail operation procedures and policies, and must complete extensive agency-specific training,

Light rail and streetcar operators must have a high school diploma or pass the general educational development (GED) exam. Operators also must have a commercial driver's license (CDL).

To qualify for a CDL, applicants must pass a knowledge test on rules and regulations and then demonstrate in a skills test that they can operate a vehicle safely. The Department of Transportation keeps a national database of all driving violations incurred by CDL holders, and a state may not issue a license to a person who has already had a license suspended or revoked in another state. Drivers may hold only one license at a time, and must surrender all other driver's licenses upon receiving their new CDLs. Information on how to apply for a CDL and each type of endorsement can be obtained from state motor vehicle administrations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Many industry employers provide on-the-job training, but click on the "get qualified" tab above to see additional resources for job preparation and training.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
5% - Slower than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $51,730 - $75,130    Hourly: $25 - $36

Note:  There may be opportunities for overtime work and overtime pay in this occupation.

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements


Legal Requirements

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

5% - Slower than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $51,730 - $75,130

Hourly: $25 - $36