Career Profile: Tram Driver
Steer your career towards the rail industry with one of these rewarding possibilities.
What is the role of a tram driver?
Melbourne operates the world’s largest tram network and a vital part of inner-city transport. Trams share road space on most of Melbourne thoroughfares. The role of a tram driver is to operate a tram to move passengers, by negotiating traffic and running to a timetable. Responsibilities include the safe and on-time arrival of passengers, keeping passengers informed through announcements, and detecting and rectifying minor faults.
What might a tram worker do?
- Conduct equipment checks at the start of a shift to ensure the tram is operating as required, including minor fault-finding activities
- Inspect, prepare and drive a tram
- Follow a set timetable to ensure reliability
- Observe traffic signs, understand their meaning and act accordingly in the tramway infrastructure
- Stay focused and alert for extended periods of time, and react quickly in the case of unexpected events
- Stop at designated locations to pick up or drop off passengers
- Monitor and control lighting, heating and ventilation for passenger comfort
- Provide customer service through public address announcements to keep passengers informed
- Respond to emergencies
Who might it suit
In addition to needing a current driver’s licence (for a minimum of two years), tram drivers must have good vision, cognition, motor function, and the ability to process information quickly while the tram is in motion.
Tram drivers need a high level of safety awareness and role modelling of good safety behaviours. Tram drivers also need the ability to maintain a high level of concentration for extended periods of time, strong multitasking abilities, excellent communication, and strong situational awareness.
Where and when is the work?
Tram drivers spend most of their time operating a tram in metropolitan and suburban areas, driving different routes every day, often starting and ending a shift from a specific tram depot.
Shifts are generally on a rotating roster – including evenings, weekends, and public holidays. Most tram services start early in the morning and run until late at night. Part-time or flexible hours may be available.
What is the pay?
In 2021, the average salary for trainee tram drivers is $67,000 to $73,000, while qualified drivers earn an average of $81,000.
Career path opportunities
To start your career, you would firstly need to apply for a trainee tram driver position. If shortlisted, you will be invited to attend an assessment day to complete a series of exercises, tests and interviews designed to evaluate suitability to perform the role. If successful in moving to the next part of the process, you would be required to undertake a medical assessment and background checks.
Once employed you will undergo relevant on-the-job training, including site inductions as well as other safety training.
There are many long-term prospects in light rail operations, with many pathways to further your career, including in production or operations.