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TwoTimer

How To Have a Successful Career in Transit.

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This is a little different from the one-timer posts by others, its more of a multi-year, step by step process to have a career down here, whether you wish to be a bus driver, train operator, conductor, or superintendent (subway/bus).

 

If you are in middle school or below:

 

If you live near the (A)(C)(J) lines, there is a Transit-affiliated high school (called Transit Tech for short) in East New York (closest to Euclid (A)(C) ). Try to get your parents to send you there, I'm not completely sure of the process to get in, that's something you will have to research on your own. Again, this is only for those who live near the (A)(C)(J) . If you are not near this school or those lines, try for a high school that is strong on business, management or communication.

 

If you are in high school:

 

Try to focus on business, management or communication classes, but above all means, graduate on time! Do not ignore society as Transit is a very social organization and those who look and act like buffs (even if they work there) will not have a comfortable time down here. For guys, keep your hygiene up (clean teeth, hair done, etc), work out (need some muscles to handle a train), if you're a female, look feminine and go about your business as a female :)

 

As you approach 18/senior year:

 

There are a few certifications and licensing you will need to pay for. Get your drivers license ASAP. Drivers' ed will be even better. Get your CDL (commercial driver license) ASAP right afterwards (when you're 18). Keep both licenses squeaky clean. Congratulations, you have met the minimum requirements for bus operator, and you will be able to take the exam the next time it comes up. You will also have met (for now) the requirements for conductor (NYCT), station agent (NYCT) and track worker (NYCT) as well.

 

After 18/post secondary:

 

You have some options here. Take every OC (open competitive) test you qualify for (pay for it if you don't qualify for a waiver), and file for it early the first day (usually between 12-3am on the first day of filing). After scores, they take people in order of file date, earlier first. For college, stay close to here, and stick with CUNY/SUNY, going for your BA/BS. Dont sit out college and await being called. Try and major in something that's will help you down here (management/transportation management, business, communication, or something in IT/computing are biggies). It will take you a few years to be hired, so go to school year round (including summers) so you'll be near completion when that time comes. Alternatively, you can go to community college and get your AA/AS first (thats what I eventually wound out doing). This college experience is important as to get hired as a train operator "off the street" (not promotional, no previous title), you need some college to trim the amount of years of work experience they would want.

 

Once you're hired:

 

Take every promotional test as they come up (again, file early the first day), whether or not you even want the job at that time. Remember, you can always change your mind, and as long as the list is active, you'll be able to be promoted. If an OC train operator test comes along and you don't have a year in title yet, take it anyway. If you meet the requirements by time they certify that list, you may be called anyway. Keep moving up (yes you will give up seniority each promotion you take, but you also won't become disgruntled like many a coworker who have been doing the same thing for two decades, and you think threads on this forum get stale and stagnant...).

 

Good luck.

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Nice advice, except that the part about taking people in order of filing time is crap. I filed the very first day at 7AM for C/R, meanwhile other people in my class filed towards the end of the filing period and got higher seniority than me. This is because ties are ranked by randomizing the SSNs.

 

Also bear in mind that when the next C/R exam rolls around, they are planning on adding a "professional customer service experience" pre-requisite. I wouldn't be surprised if they have that for station agents as well. You can bullshit your resume - just about any job where you deal with customers at all (phone, retail, etc) can count.

 

If you do decide to go to college, Civil Engineering is a field you should consider if you are interested in some of the higher end jobs, like working on the inspection trains or planning out new construction.

 

Kids, this should be common sense, but if you want to be a buff, go ahead and be a buff, but KEEP IT LEGAL. I know of certain people who applied for jobs here and got their application thrown out because they have things like "possession of stolen railroad property" or "trespassing in the tunnels" on their record, and I've heard that applicants who have things such as fare-beating on their record will also be denied.

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Nice advice, except that the part about taking people in order of filing time is crap. I filed the very first day at 7AM for C/R, meanwhile other people in my class filed towards the end of the filing period and got higher seniority than me. This is because ties are ranked by randomizing the SSNs.

 

Also bear in mind that when the next C/R exam rolls around, they are planning on adding a "professional customer service experience" pre-requisite. I wouldn't be surprised if they have that for station agents as well. You can bullshit your resume - just about any job where you deal with customers at all (phone, retail, etc) can count.

 

If you do decide to go to college, Civil Engineering is a field you should consider if you are interested in some of the higher end jobs, like working on the inspection trains or planning out new construction.

 

Kids, this should be common sense, but if you want to be a buff, go ahead and be a buff, but KEEP IT LEGAL. I know of certain people who applied for jobs here and got their application thrown out because they have things like "possession of stolen railroad property" or "trespassing in the tunnels" on their record, and I've heard that applicants who have things such as fare-beating on their record will also be denied.

 

 

They've had that qualification on the S/A exam ever since the title Change from RRC(RailRoad Clerk) to Station Agent, so since the 1997 exam, plus you needed 2 years in that job. And a bunch of jobs such as working in a check cashing place, or doing security didn;t count as credible work. I think currently C/R, CTA and Track Worker don't require anything but a HS diploma.

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Nice advice, except that the part about taking people in order of filing time is crap. I filed the very first day at 7AM for C/R, meanwhile other people in my class filed towards the end of the filing period and got higher seniority than me. This is because ties are ranked by randomizing the SSNs.

 

Taking people by filing time is crap indeed. I filed towards the end for C/R because I had to go through a bit of a runaround to get the fee waiver documents I needed. Even then it took me until November '08 (original filing deadline was September) to get the fee waiver stuff resolved. (HRA gave me the wrong paper). Took two trips to the Medicaid office in Midtown and one trip to DCAS downtown for me to finally have an approved filing.

 

Despite all that, I'm in the middle of the pack of the 97.333 bunch while over 300 people behind me in list order have the same exact score.

 

I've heard that applicants who have things such as fare-beating on their record will also be denied.

 

What about a ticket for walking through the subway cars?

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I couldn't disagree with you more on the Buff part.I have NEVER had a problem because I am a buff in the nearly 3 years I have been here.I have met a lot of other buffs and those who are not buffs do not mind that I am one at all.Never be ashamed of who you are or what you like.

 

 

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i was in front of this guy as a c/r off the street. for t/o he filed the day before me, got one slot in front. it appears no one may knows what truly goes on, but test score does trump all off the street.

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Well the (A)(C) or (J) may not be my home lines but I live in Crown Heights near the (3)(4) and I can take the B46 bus to Fulton for the (A)(C) at Utica. :)

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I couldn't disagree with you more on the Buff part.I have NEVER had a problem because I am a buff in the nearly 3 years I have been here.I have met a lot of other buffs and those who are not buffs do not mind that I am one at all.Never be ashamed of who you are or what you like.

 

 

I too am a buff and have never had issues. I guess as long as you're not Mr.McCollum you're fine lol.

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I too am a buff and have never had issues. I guess as long as you're not Mr.McCollum you're fine lol.

 

LMAO, not saying them all, but even today my coworkers were making fun of one.

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LMAO, not saying them all, but even today my coworkers were making fun of one.

 

 

 

People know im a Buff nobody makes fun of me...

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I couldn't disagree with you more on the Buff part.I have NEVER had a problem because I am a buff in the nearly 3 years I have been here.I have met a lot of other buffs and those who are not buffs do not mind that I am one at all.Never be ashamed of who you are or what you like.

 

 

I think he means more like a foamtastic buff. I love the job and buses but there are some who take it too far.

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If you really want to have a long and successful career in transit, come through the maintenance side, preferably buses. It is a lot easier to move up in bus maintenance than it is in RTO, Surface transportation, or even CED. Anyone will tell you, if you aren't completely stupid, it's very hard to loose this job. You just gotta follow a couple rules.

#1. Be on time

#2. Don't steal anything. You get the axe automatically if you are caught stealing.

#3. Don't get into any fight, verbal or physical (verbal it could go either way. But physical is automatic termination unless you are just defending yourself and it's on camera. They tell us not to even step in and try to break up fights)

#4. Do what your superiors tell you to do. No more, no less.

#5. Try not to ruffle any feathers or step on any toes, just watch how you talk to people in general. This is a big one for any position you take in transit. They guy you screw over one day, could be you boss the next day. Or he could have connections with people that can really f**k your career and your life up.

If you follow these rules, you can almost guarantee yourself a long successful career working for the New York City Transit Authority...

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I'd add these:

 

TIME

-Know when and where you are supposed to be to work, and be there. If you can't make it and it's a proper use, you have sick time, use it. If you're running a couple minutes late, call ahead and let someone know. No guarantees, but it can't hurt and people appreciate being kept in the loop.

-If you work in train or bus service...always make your runs leave on time. What time they arrive is up to circumstance, but you need to be ready to go when it's time to go.

-Don't abuse your sick time. Use it judiciously. Don't wind up on Sick Control (aka "the 30% list"). If you don't "feel like" going to work...GO ANYWAY.

-When you're new, save all your holidays as AVA's. Now if a sudden family emergency comes up, you can get the day off and get paid for it...but be prepared to have to prove the emergency for pay to be approved.

 

BEHAVIOR

-Don't steal property, don't steal money, and don't pad the payroll

-Don't argue with customers. Be courteous. If they are difficult, you can be stern but polite...choose your words carefully.

-Don't disrespect supervisors. Do what you are told until you earn their trust.

-If you want something, try asking nicely.

-Do favors for the people you like working with, it will come back to you in spades. You can decline to do favors for people you don't like working with, but be polite, respectful, and if they're a supervisor NEVER be insubordinate. Just don't do them any favors, because you don't have to. But if they ask you to do something that's legitimately a job responsibility during a time they have the right to, even if you wouldn't want to help them lift a piano off their toe...you need to do it.

-Do not get into physical altercations.

-If you have a uniform, wear it. If you don't, carry your backorder forms everywhere you go and do your best to wear clothes that look close to the actual uniform for the time being

 

PROTECTING YOUR JOB

-Cover your ass. Have your story ready to go BEFORE you're asked for it, and talk to your partner (if applicable) so the two of you are on the same page.

-(for train service employees)... stay off the radio unless you absolutely need to be on it. Communicate with your partner first ALWAYS. You are a TEAM.

-Just do your job. Don't try to "improve" it or be a super employee. Just do what you are supposed to do, nothing more, and nothing less. Both will get you into trouble.

-Get a good reputation. It could help you someday. The best way to do this is maintaining a clean record. Your supervisors will notice - evaluations are done constantly and if your name never comes up, they'll assume you're one of the good ones.

-Write down everything you do. What time you start and end work, and every train/bus/etc. you work on, your partner (if applicable), and any noteworthy occurrences. It could save you someday. Figure out what you should get paid and check it against your stubs.

-If ever you do anything off color, off key, not rule book, etc. - shut your mouth about it. That said, try not to.

-If you're about to make a run...go to the bathroom first. Try to avoid "taking a comfort" en route.

-Remember, a day without paperwork is a GOOD DAY

 

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

-Make friends with people who have time down here. Learn from their experiences.

-Make friends with people who don't have time down here. They'll be your peers and you may work alongside these people the rest of your career.

-Mind your business in the crew room. Make friends over time. Don't change the TV channel, don't complain about what's on, and if you see food available for sale PAY FOR IT, don't steal it. Most of the amenities in the crew rooms are put there by the employees themselves. If there are games going on and you want to play, ask...don't just sit down without asking.

-Don't trust everyone.

-Don't whine/complain. No one really wants to hear it, and everyone's been there. Just suck it up and someday you won't have to.

-Keep the crew room clean. If you eat and make a mess, clean it up. Crew rooms don't have maids and if you leave a mess, your coworkers will have to clean it up, and they will resent you for it. Don't leave food in the fridge long term unless absolutely necessary and label it if you do. Don't put your work bag, which is dirty, in places where people eat or prepare food.

-While you can be friends with supervision, keep them at an arm's length unless you really know them personally. Just because a TSS rode your train once or twice and seemed agreeable is not grounds to start telling him about how wasted you plan to get on your RDO's the next time you see him. Be professional.

 

and last, but most important...SAFETY

-Your safety comes first. Don't trust the public. Wear your PPE, lock your doors, and do what is required, nothing more. Don't take unnecessary risks. If you have a uniform, travel incognito when you come to work and go home.

-Protect your property. If you plan to drive to work, get a parking pass and park in the yard/depot. If the yard/depot requires decals, do the best you can...but safe to say not a good idea to leave expensive items visible (especially a GPS or radio)...it's happened to enough TA employees before you and will happen to them after you as well.

Edited by SubwayGuy
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People know im a Buff nobody makes fun of me...

 

 

Same here. I've met many regular and schoolcar TSS's at my terminal, in addition to all the T/Os and C/Rs, and I've actually been applauded for my tattoo and unwavering enthusiasm. (Snowblock and Pelham Bay Dave can attest to this.) There are always those that try to make everything seem horrible and not worth the hassle/trouble, but in the end I will get to say I made my dream of driving a passenger train come true. Can you do the same? Have you made any of your dreams come true? Sadly, most everyone I ask that say no.

 

 

 

 

Despite all that, I'm in the middle of the pack of the 97.333 bunch while over 300 people behind me in list order have the same exact score.

 

 

 

I'm so mad about that. I filed the very first day early in the morning and within the block of 97.333 folks I'm in the damn upper 900s. I wish the tiebreak was by filing time because I could have my dang blueshirt already!

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A couple tips to add:

 

- Don't trust the customers. There are some New Yorkers who hate everything MTA and only ride the system because they can't afford taxis or a car, and they would love nothing more than to see an employee get canned. With that in mind, NEVER put yourself in a position where they can see that happen. Customers love to make up stories, but don't give them any evidence to go along with the stories. When they file a complaint, management does take them seriously but will not take action without proof.

 

- If you know you are going to be more than 5 minutes late signing in, ALWAYS call the dispatcher. Be sure you have the phone #'s for EVERY terminal, and it's an underground terminal, call using your radio (which is a last resort). This will make the difference between them jumping another crew ahead to accommodate you, or you getting marked AWOL and being sent home. With that in mind, don't make a habit of coming in late.

 

- Budget yourself for a 40 hour week. This is all you are guaranteed, and even if you pick a job that pays 11 hours, there's always a chance you can get reassigned to an 8 hour job due to a GO. Also remember that when you use an AVA, OTO or PLD, you will only be paid 8 hours.

 

- When you are XX, save all overtime as OTO. It will accumulate FAST (especially from board jobs), and every time you collect 8 hours, you can take a day off. With the hectic schedules that you get on XX, you will need plenty of 4 day weeks. You can accumulate up to 9 days, so once you have more than 3 days, use one, you earned it! Remember that all OTO expires at the end of December, so stop collecting and start using in early November, as it can be difficult to get days off as the holidays approach.

 

- I would also recommend taking the AVA over the holiday pay. You will need those days off, and unlike OTO, AVAs never expire so try to keep at least one in your bank at all times for emergencies. If you manage to fill your entire bank, it means it's time for a vacation!

 

- Be cautious of the crew rooms. You'll meet some good people in there, but there are a lot of loud mouths who make up stories just to see how you gullible you can be, so take everything you hear with a grain of salt. Also, don't BE that loud mouth. Nobody wants to hear a rookie talking his mouth off, especially when they don't know what they're talking about.

 

- Remember that we all went through the same thing you did. You weren't the first one to have to work a 16 hour day because you picked up a job after 7 hours. You weren't the first one to get your weekend ruined due to a late clear. And you won't be the last.

Edited by Snowblock
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All newcomers to the TA: take the advice from the above posters, these are things that it's very helpful to know ahead of time.

 

Unfortunately, a good portion of your contact with customers may be negative, but there are the occasional folks that will thank you or greet you and that's the sort of thing that should make your day. Not telling someone off or threatening to fight because they held doors. There is no reason for you to defend the agency, so those who just want to stand there and rant do not require your attention. You will be asked dumb questions, but answer them seriously anyway. In half the time it takes for you to make them feel stupid for asking, you could have answered it. You can always laugh about them later, and you will. ^_^

 

For those in train service, making announcements and giving alternatives routes to the best of your knowledge during delays definitely helps to calm tempers during difficult situations. You need to be a little more understanding than, "You can just take a cab!".

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All newcomers to the TA: take the advice from the above posters, these are things that it's very helpful to know ahead of time.

 

Unfortunately, a good portion of your contact with customers may be negative, but there are the occasional folks that will thank you or greet you and that's the sort of thing that should make your day. Not telling someone off or threatening to fight because they held doors. There is no reason for you to defend the agency, so those who just want to stand there and rant do not require your attention. You will be asked dumb questions, but answer them seriously anyway. In half the time it takes for you to make them feel stupid for asking, you could have answered it. You can always laugh about them later, and you will. ^_^

 

For those in train service, making announcements and giving alternatives routes to the best of your knowledge during delays definitely helps to calm tempers during difficult situations. You need to be a little more understanding than, "You can just take a cab!".

This is why I say to come through maintenance if possible. You cut the customers out of the equation. This everything is on you. No worrying if some random customer is gonna write complaint to the MTA about you because they think that you were running late or whatever else...

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Unfprtunately (and yes, I say unfortunately) those 16 hour days are becoming rare because if your on board for a long time, they won't let you work the entire job. They will split the job in half with you doing the first trip and someone else doing the second. They generally won't let you pick up the entire job if you've been on board for more than 4 hours. Although there are some exceptions, like if your on board in the Bronx and the job starts in Brooklyn.

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