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Subway and Streetcar Operators

Subway and Streetcar Operators
Quick Facts : Subway and Streetcar Operators*
2010 Median Pay$56,880
Entry Level EducationHigh school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 20126,500
Job Outlook10% (About as fast as average)
Employment Change600

Subway and streetcar operators transport passengers in urban and suburban areas. Subway operators drive trains that run on separate tracks that may be underground or above ground. Streetcar operators drive electric-powered streetcars, trolleys, and light-rail vehicles that run on streets or on separate tracks above ground.

What Subway and Streetcar Operators Do

  • Observe signals on the track that indicate when they are supposed to start, stop, or slow down
  • Control the vehicle's speed based on regulations for the section of track on which they are operating
  • Watch to make sure all passengers get on and off the vehicle safely
  • Communicate with dispatchers to report or be informed of delays or other problems
  • Ensure the safe evacuation of passengers during a breakdown or emergency situation

Work Environment

Almost all subway and streetcar operators work for local governments that run transit systems within their jurisdiction. Most work full time.
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Job Outlook

Employment of subway and streetcar operators is projected to grow 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, as several cities have proposed building new subway or streetcar systems or expanding existing systems.
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In May 2010, the average salary of subway and streetcar operators was $56,880.
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Subway and Streetcar Operators*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Subway and Streetcar Operators


Transportation Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Subway and Streetcar Operators*
Percent Change in Employment

Subway and Streetcar Operators


Transportation Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Subway and Streetcar Operators

Subway and streetcar operators typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. They generally get 1 to 3 months of on-the-job training before they drive their own route. The transit agency provides this training. Following the training, operators must pass a test to ensure that they understand the applicable rules and regulations.
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