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What You Need to Know About Subway or Streetcar Operator

Job Description: Operate subway or elevated suburban trains with no separate locomotive, or electric-powered streetcar, to transport passengers. May handle fares.

Life As a Subway or Streetcar Operator: What Do They Do?

  • Complete reports, including shift summaries and incident or accident reports.
  • Report delays, mechanical problems, and emergencies to supervisors or dispatchers, using radios.
  • Drive and control rail-guided public transportation, such as subways, elevated trains, and electric-powered streetcars, trams, or trolleys, to transport passengers.
  • Record transactions and coin receptor readings to verify the amount of money collected.
  • Collect fares from passengers, and issue change and transfers.
  • Monitor lights indicating obstructions or other trains ahead and watch for car and truck traffic at crossings to stay alert to potential hazards.

What a Subway or Streetcar Operator Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Subway and Streetcar Operators say are important on the job.

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.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

  • Service Vehicle Operator
  • Streetcar Motorman
  • Transfer Car Operator
  • Light Rail Operator
  • Elevated Motorman

Subway or Streetcar Operator Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 12,800 jobs in the United States for Subway or Streetcar Operator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.7% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 600 new jobs for Subway or Streetcar Operator by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 1,300 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Subway or Streetcar Operator are Texas, Colorado, and Washington. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Nebraska. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Subway and Streetcar Operators Salary

The average yearly salary of a Subway or Streetcar Operator ranges between $37,310 and $82,100.


Subway and Streetcar Operators who work in Maryland, New Jersey, or California, make the highest salaries.

How much do Subway and Streetcar Operators make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
California $57,550
Georgia $37,500
Maryland $63,120
New Jersey $60,510
Tennessee $49,220
Texas $46,810

Tools & Technologies Used by Subway and Streetcar Operators

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Subway and Streetcar Operators:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Word processing software

How to Become a Subway or Streetcar Operator

Individuals working as a Subway or Streetcar Operator have obtained the following education levels:


How many years of work experience do I need?


Where do Subway and Streetcar Operators Work?


The table below shows the approximate number of Subway and Streetcar Operators employed by various industries.


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Career changers with experience as a Subway or Streetcar Operator sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Hic85 via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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