Train Operator

Apply button 5fe10ae9207edfa7038eb6a5b03303603ff6e003cddc11e21579c3c21bf1ad16

Basic Job Info

US-CA-San Diego
Job Type
Begin Date
End Date
Base Pay
Employment Type
Manages Others
Relocation Covered

Job Description

Why become a Train Operator?

• 100% of the Trolley Management Team Members started their careers as part-time Train Operators and were promoted.

Health, dental and vision coverage offered to part-time Train Operator employees.

• Vacation time and holiday pay.

• Participation in the nation’s largest public pension fund.

• Promotional opportunities:  After being a part-time Train Operator for a full year – TOs are eligible to apply for Auxiliary Supervisor positions (pay range $29.81 - $30.52)

• Stability:  Since its first un in the 1980s the trolley continues to expand its ridership and routes, including an 11-mile expansion from Old Town to UCSD expected to be completed by 2021!


Train Operators are responsible for operating Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) trains in revenue and non-revenue service, performing pre-departure checkouts, making public address announcements, monitoring and reporting passenger movements, exercising prudent judgment during any onboard vehicle failures, preparing vehicle defect reports and assisting in providing on-the-job instruction to student personnel. Train Operators are hired as part-time employees only and are scheduled to work approximately 25-40 hours per week - working generally 35 hours per week. Additional hours are frequently assigned to employees in a manner designed to give employees an equal opportunity to work extra hours. The Transportation Department works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and Train Operator shift assignments are bid on in seniority order. Train Operators can expect to be assigned to work nights, weekends, and holidays until such time as their individual seniority allows them to bid to more desirable shifts and days off. Part-time employees are eligible for promotion to full-time positions in seniority order, as full-time positions become available. Candidates should assume that they would be working in a part-time status for five or more years. Part-time employees are not guaranteed any specific number of working hours per week.  Health, dental and vision coverage is offered to part-time employees..   Essential duties of a Train Operator include, but are not limited to, the following:

Essential Functions

• Operates Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) trains in revenue and non-revenue service in strict compliance with the MTS Rail Rules and Instructions for Employees.

• Exercises good judgment and adheres to all safety policies and procedures to ensure the safety of passengers and equipment.

• Operates LRV’s during onboard vehicle failures where specific features, i.e., propulsion, braking, etc., are rendered inoperative.

• Makes required public address announcements regarding the impact of specific mainline occurrences on train service, as well as other announcements as instructed by Transportation Supervisors/Controllers.

• Reports all unusual occurrences to the controller.

• Assists with wheelchair or basic equipment trouble shooting.

• Uses a variety of keys, levers, and buttons to activate the train, accelerate, brake, operate doors, and uses the public address system, horn, headlights and TWC (Train to Wayside Control).

• Prepares trains for service, as determined by schedule requirements or Supervisor/Controller instructions. 

• Performs yard switching activities, including movement of LRVs through an automated car wash, coupling and uncoupling of train sets, and manual operation of track switches.

• Operates trains into and out of shop buildings for repairs.  

• Operates test trains for acceptance of equipment, repair and checkouts as required.

• Prepares detailed reports pertaining to unusual events.

• Assists in providing on-the-job instruction to student personnel qualifying for the Train Operator position.

• Provides superficial first aid and/or requests medical assistance for ill or injured passengers. 

• Maintains a thorough and up-to-date knowledge of current Rules and Regulations and other standard operating procedures pertaining to the Trolley. 

• Performs such other duties as assigned. 

DISCLAIMER: The above described job elements are intended to indicate the general nature and levels of work being performed by employees assigned to the job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties, responsibilities and skills required of employees so classified. Management retains the discretion to add to or change the duties of the position at any time.


Key Words:  Train Driver, Trolley Driver, Light Rail Vehicle Driver

Job Requirements


Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Knowledge of or ability to learn MTS policies and regulations; ability to read, understand and apply written instructions, MTS policies, regulations and union labor contracts; ability to write letters, memoranda, and reports using clear, concise and grammatically correct English; ability to speak clearly, distinctly, and effectively in person-to-person or small group situations using tact and diplomacy; ability to maintain and successfully complete assignments without detailed instructions; strong organizational skills and demonstrated ability to multi-task; skill in verifying the accuracy and completeness of forms and reports; ability to coordinate and initiate actions necessary to implement decisions and delegate responsibilities to appropriate personnel; ability to establish and maintain priorities; ability to exercise prudent and timely judgment in normal and emergency situations; ability to sit for long periods of time in a confined area; must have a flexible schedule and be available to work on days, nights, weekends and holidays..

Physical Requirements

The successful candidate must be 21 years of age or older and able to fulfill the physical demands of the job such as driving, walking, climbing stairs, stooping, sitting, bending, reaching overhead and lifting (must be able to lift up to 50 pounds). Must be able to operate a motor vehicle and perform tasks involving manual dexterity such as use of a computer and 10-key. Work may at times require more than 8 hours per day, travel to other agencies, variable shifts, or require irregular hours to perform the essential duties of the position. Must have good eyesight and the ability to maintain constant alertness under tedious circumstances. Duties will be performed primarily in an LRV operator cubicle, as well as in an office environment.


The minimum age at time of appointment is 21. Candidates should demonstrate stable employment, good attendance records and a favorable attitude toward public service. Candidates must demonstrate ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Bilingual skills are preferred and encouraged.  A valid California driver’s license is required. A minimum of two years current and satisfactory driving experience, preferably in the operation of a public passenger vehicle is necessary. A copy of the H-6 DMV record (ten year report) must accompany application. No applicant will be considered for a Train Operator position whose traffic record reflects irresponsibility or disregard of traffic rules and laws.


Must satisfactorily pass all applicable examinations including, but not limited to, a pre-employment physical, drug screen and background check.


$13.55 per hour during Training.  Upon successful completion of the required training program and obtaining certification, the hourly wage rate for new Train Operators is increased to $21.99.

Increases are received annually. The top rate for a Train Operator is currently $29.31 per hour. All hourly rates are subject to negotiation with the PTEA and are therefore subject to change.


Train Operator applicants must turn in an H-6 Driving Record to be considered for the position.  H-6 Driving Records can only be obtained by going to any DMV and requesting the H-6 in person.  Online print outs will not be accepted.  Please submit your driving record (H-6) to the Human Resources Department by one of the following ways:

1. Email: [Click Here to Email Your Resumé] Subject: H-6
2. Fax: 619-230-6715, or
3. Address: Metropolitan Transit System
                  1255 Imperial Avenue, Suite 900
                  San Diego, CA 92101
                  Attn: Human Resources Department

Apply button 5fe10ae9207edfa7038eb6a5b03303603ff6e003cddc11e21579c3c21bf1ad16 gives you access to over a million jobs and career opportunities across the US including in San Diego. Find your perfect job and apply directly through a simply online application process