The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) of New York City Transit is the largest public transportation agency in North America with a subway ridership of over five million per day and 1.6 billion per year. The system’s 6,300 subway trains cars operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Conductors earn their salaries by ensuring safe operation of these vehicles.
New York City train conductors have duties in customer, yard and work train service. They make announcements to customers, set up automatic announcement systems and open and close train doors. They interact with the train operator, supervision and control center as needed. On the platform, they patrol areas, help customers enter and exit vehicles, and help trains leave on time. They can operate hand-thrown switches, set up flags and light signals, and otherwise protect transit employees working on or near the rail lines.
Applicants for train conductor must have a minimum high school diploma or equivalent by the time of appointment. They must pass medical and drug screens, must be able to communicate fluently in English,and show proof of identity and the right to work in the U.S. New York City residency is not required. In addition, applicants must pass a multiple-choice test with at least 70 percent correct answers. This exam tests the ability to use good judgment under stress, be familiar with New York City locations and understand and apply written and verbal instructions.
According to the Empire Center for New York State Policy, New York City train conductors earn an average $26.58 per hour, or $62,601 annually. Employees can have variable hours as well as overtime pay. The lowest compensation is $17.42 per hour, which equals $36,233 per year when multiplied by standard hours. The highest pay is $28.29 per hour, which equals $58,843 annually.
The average salaries of New York City train conductors are slightly higher than those of conductors throughout the U.S., which was $25.18 per hour or $52,370 per year. This was according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2010. The lowest 10 percent made $16.11 per hour or $33,510 annually, while the highest 10 percent earned $36.67 per hour or $76,270 per year. New York State had the highest employment levels for the profession with 12 percent of the total positions. The top paying state was Wisconsin with a mean $33.42 per hour or $69,520 per year.