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How to Be an MTA Conductor

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New York Metropolitan Transit Authority conductors see to it that trains run safely and arrive when they're supposed to. Conductors can work on trains, but they may also provide customer service and work in train yards. To become an MTA conductor, you must meet basic requirements and pass a written exam.

Working as an MTA Conductor

MTA conductors who work in customer service open and close doors, announce train arrivals and departures, and operate the automatic announcement system. MTA conductors who work in road service coordinate with the train operator and the MTA control center, such as by setting up flags and lighting signals. Some MTA conductors work on or patrol train platforms and help customers get on or off trains. Other conductors work in the rail yard, such as by operating hand-thrown switches or reporting unusual activities.

Meeting Basic Requirements

To become an MTA conductor, you must have a high-school diploma or GED, pass a medical exam that determines how fit you are to perform the job, pass a drug screening, speak and understand English, and prove who you are and that you are legally able to work in the United States. There is no residency requirement, which means you don't have to live in New York City to work as one of its MTA conductors.

Preparing for the Written Exam

The written exam covers how well you can understand and apply written and verbal instructions, use good judgment, and react and respond during emergency or other types of stressful situations. The exam also covers how well you can interact with the public, how familiar you are with landmarks and other points of interest in New York City, and if you can understand military time. To pass the written exam, you must get at least 70 percent of the questions right. You must complete an application with and pay a filing fee to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services before you can take the written exam.

Waiting for the Call

After passing the written exam, and as long as you meet the other requirements, your name is put on a list of applicants eligible to work as a conductor. When your name is reached on the list, you will be considered for appointment as a conductor. When you get your test results in the mail, as long as you have passed, you will receive information about your place on the list.


William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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Helmut Meyer zur Capellen/imageBROKER/GettyImages