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Old 03-02-2010, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Jersey City, NJ
2 posts, read 13,770 times
Reputation: 13
Default Hurry up & wait ...

I took the Motorman Test in June 09. My score is 76/80, 4 incorrect, for a score of 95%. Judging by the very long & very descriptive reply that Motorman Mike blogged not too long ago, I guess (if i'm lucky) I can expect a possible MTA employment opportunity in, say, 2015 .... WTH?????

I have to say that I found the test absurdly easy & was shocked when my # of incorrect exceeded 2. It is probably one of the more interesting civil service occupations out there. What man, as a little boy, didn't dream of driving a train when he grew up. But, with everything else in life, no pleasure without pain. As of today (March 2, '10), I still have not received anything in the way of an official confirmation of my score from MTA.

I almost forgot that I took the test ...
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:53 PM
 
573 posts, read 542,963 times
Reputation: 318
I took the train operator's test back in 03 or so...and never got called. i think i got 87 on it.

I took the bus operator, in, i think 04 and got call ending of 07 to 08. I am still on the job and out of probation. actually i just made 2 years today.

But the hiring process is tedious. a lot of paper work. many visits to brooklyn. lots of paperwork asking the same question. but it felt good when i was swearing it.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 19,366,010 times
Reputation: 10109
It's true; the process of slogging through the civil service is long and tedious. I believe the average period of time between exam and call-up ranges from two to three years. But, if it will help to maintain optimism...there are call-ups for both train operator and conductor going on even as I write this. I've seen classes for both.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
213 posts, read 641,576 times
Reputation: 371
Hello again , and congradulations on taking and passing the test. The written test is designed to do one thing and that is to make sure you can read and understand a rule or regulation and how to put it into effect. As a train operator you will learn that there are proper procedures for every situation you can encounter down here and the MTA does not want or really allow you much room to 'wing it'. I got 69 out of 70 questions right and found the written test very easy too. That said , the written test is no indictation at all of the level of difficulty the challenge that you will find the training program is if you get called in much the same way that the written police test is no indication of the difficulty of the police academy , the written fire exam no indication of all you have to learn in the fire academy , etc.
I have NO inside information on what is in the MTA's plans right now so all I can do here is guess and speculate. I do know that both train operators and conductors are still being hired off the open competetive list. I do know that train operators are in no danger of layoffs. It's been a long standing goal of the MTA to eventually get conductors off trains at some point in time , but being honest here , and not saying this as a union member but saying this simply in a practical way , there is no way a motorman from the head car operating position can safely make stops and then operate doors on a full length train , and for obvious reasons OPTO (one person train operation where motormen operate the trains and then work the doors is run only in a limited form on half length trains and half length trains cannot be run at all times on all lines so conductors jobs are relatively safe as well. It is also interesting to note that conductors , not motormen , have charge of trains in passenger service. We make more money than they do and train operator is a promotion from conductor and not vice versa , but nationally , in both subway and light rail and railroad work , conductors have the final say so in what will be done in an emergency situation on a train. Yes , the train crews will endeavor to work things out together but in the end the conductor has the final call. They also respond to most door problems unless it's in the T/O's car or the next one , then the T/O will fix the doors , and they respond to investigate any reports of hazards/dangers/ and disorders on trains , they just don't open and close doors.)
The MTA is playing hardball and they do not want to give the TWU workers the 3% raises we were given in the third year of our contract by an arbitrator and the award was challenged by the MTA and upheld in court. The MTA is out to make the TWU and the workers look bad , and play games in public like saying they need to stop giving students free passes on the trains (implying the poor kids have to suffer so we can make more money) ... first , workers down here can ride the trains for free , our families can not. So workers with kids will pay for them if that happens , I'm married , I buy a metrocard every week for my wife. We're not hard hearted or selfish , but we will fight for what has been rightfully awarded to us because in the past the MTA has cried poverty every time it's time to renegotiate a contract and then if the TWU gives in and grants concessions and signs off on them , once that's said and done the MTA suddenly finds millions of dollars they 'didn't know' they had. It's amazing and baffling to me that the MTA can suddenly 'find' 250 million dollars , the state and city governments can suddenly find 5 or 10 million in this or that account for this or that reason , but if you or I don't pay $150 in back taxes the government knows that and hounds you to death for it.
Now , how this all affects you on the list is that they are talking layoffs for station agents. I don't know if this will happen but if it does , I believe (and this is not a statement of fact , just my understanding of how things work) that those agents then would have to be offered the chance to work in another title , some of which might elect to go for conductor or train operator training ... if any station agents read this , maybe they can post a reply if that's true or not , I'd like to know ... so if it is , they will go ahead of open competitive hires I would assume.
But for anyone who scored a 95 or better I'm sure you should get called at some point , guys retire all the time and the MTA really does want to T/O ranks filled because they want to cut down on paying O.T.
I wish you all luck in getting hired and it is a pretty cool job to have. If you are a train buff , you'll find the novelty of driving a train and the 'oh wow , this is cool' factor you'll feel once you start doing it wears off in about your first 2 weeks or so.
The first two years or so you'll be assigned to the extra extra list and your schedule will be grueling and hell but if you can make it past that initial couple of years , then you'll most likely be a lifer down here , there is little attrition except for death and retirement.
If you guys have any other questions feel free to ask and I'll try and answer them , I know Fred is on the case as well. If I do find anything else out about what's going on with the hiring I'll post it here if I can.
When I took the test it was October '03 , I got mailed my test score and list number in January of '04 and then didn't hear a word until I was told to report for the medical and background check in March '07 so I hope that puts in perspective the waiting times for you. It's a long wait , but worth it. Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
213 posts, read 641,576 times
Reputation: 371
This is an unsubstantiated rumor I am posting for anyone who is following the threads regarding hiring for motormen ... what I am hearing through the grapevine is that test #2085 is going to expire , and a new class of T/O's is tentatively set to be hired in June or July from the test that was given most recently , meaning that list is going to be established and activated. Good news for anyone who took the recent test , bad news for anyone who was still hoping to get called off 2085. Once again this is a rumor I have from a source I consider relaible but by no means am I posting it as a statement of fact.
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:06 PM
 
876 posts, read 1,277,996 times
Reputation: 357
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotormanMike View Post
This is an unsubstantiated rumor I am posting for anyone who is following the threads regarding hiring for motormen ... what I am hearing through the grapevine is that test #2085 is going to expire , and a new class of T/O's is tentatively set to be hired in June or July from the test that was given most recently , meaning that list is going to be established and activated. Good news for anyone who took the recent test , bad news for anyone who was still hoping to get called off 2085. Once again this is a rumor I have from a source I consider relaible but by no means am I posting it as a statement of fact.
How can they be talking about hiring when they are talking about laying off 1000 workers. I am with the sanitation dept and they havent hired since the summer of 2008.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:13 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
213 posts, read 641,576 times
Reputation: 371
Train Operators and conductors fall under a section of MTA NYC Transit known as RTO , or Rapid Transit Operations. RTO does not get touched during layoffs. They might lay off from the stations department , or the track department , etc. but not RTO.
We are state employees even though we operate trains that run within the confines of New York City , so if the mayor declares a city wide hiring freeze that has nothing to do with the MTA.
With the Train operator title there is an obscure little known law on the books which was passed in 1918 or 1919 (from what I understand) that states nobody can become a train operator/motorman without at least 3 months of training including operating the train. This was passed by the then city mayor or city council or such back when the different parts of the subway system were not under a state authority , like the MTA is now.
The law was passed in the wake of the November 1918 Malbone street train wreck/crash that killed almost 100 people and injured nearly 200 more. Motormen were on strike at the time and a dispatcher was pressed into service as a motorman with a two day crash course on how to operate a train. Over by where today's Prospect Park Shuttle train enters the modern day Prospect Park station there is a curve. The dispatcher filling in as a scab motorman took a 6 mph curve at over 30 mph and derailed the train , causing several cars to tear through each other and shred apart , seriously wounding or killing everyone inside. The explosion was loud it was heard from over a mile away. Malbone street was renamed Empire Boulevard due to the wreck. In response , the dispatcher , who survived , was arrested and charged with manslaughter but was later acquitted at a trail , as were several senior managers.
It's interesting when people go off on the MTA and suggest just firing everybody and replacing them with lower paid workers because they don't know of the existence of such law and that it would be illegal to just hire people at random and give them two or three weeks training and throw them on train , not to mention it is not an easy task to learn to operate the airbrakes that stop a train. We technically don't get paid to 'drive' trains , we actually are paid to properly and safely 'stop' them.
Up until I believe last month , train operators were still being hired. The layoffs that are being discussed right now are in reference to station agents , and the real reason the MTA is threatening that action is because they want the union to give up the 3% raise we were awarded in the 3rd year of our contract that was awarded by an arbitrator and upheld by two appeals court judges. So they're playing hardball and threatening the layoffs if the union doesn't volunteer to give the raises back.
They are vastly underestimating the will and the resolve of the work force down here over this issue , and this time around if they force the issue it's going to turn into an ugly summer.
Frankly , I do think they're going to push it , so it's going to be interesting how it all plays out.
Long response to a short remark , but I had a little time to kill and felt like putting the history lesson out there.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 19,366,010 times
Reputation: 10109
I don't know exactly which list is currently being used, but I know for a fact that train operators are being brought into the system. There's a class posting right now.
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:52 PM
 
Location: Conn.
1 posts, read 9,047 times
Reputation: 11
Default Motormen's Exam

Are there any study guides for the Motormen's exam? If so, where do you buy them?
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 19,366,010 times
Reputation: 10109
I've seen them advertised in The Chief. (But if you read the small print, you'll see that these so-called study guides are actually produced by outside agencies that specialize only in making up study guides for civil service exams. They certainly aren't authorized by MTA, and whatever information you find inside them isn't necessarily according to MTA rules and regulations). I, personally, don't think anyone ever has to worry about open competitive civil service exams; they're already catering to the lowest common denominator, and you don't need any extra help to pass them!
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