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Old 07-13-2009, 05:27 PM
 
1 posts, read 55,530 times
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Default Took the MTA Train Operator Exam, got the results, what is Next?

Hello I am a 23 yrs college student asking what maybe a stupid question. But I took the Train Operator exam, i got the results and i received a 14/80 I dont know if that good or bad. I think that is bad not not close to failing. So i need a step to step process of what is next...I didn't get my listing number i want to know is that what I am waiting on to move on? I went back to school because I was very close to finish but I dont know anything about what to do next and NYC is great on helpin ppl to get this help. I am not in NYC as i write this but need to know if I should just give up now or keep checkin
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Old 07-13-2009, 05:48 PM
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1,119 posts, read 4,323,522 times
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14 right or wrong? I'm going to assume wrong. You fail if you get anything below 70%. Again, assuming you got 66 right, your score would be somewhere around 82.5%. After you take the test, you wait a while for the eligible list to be processed and then you wait again to be called. When and how fast you will be called strongly depends on how many people scored better than you and the hiring needs of the agency. If only 2 people did better than you, more than likely you're good to go. If 2,000 did better than you, good luck. You won't be able to get much info on the test you took because it's very recent. Check out the DCAS(folks who oversee the civil service exams) web page for more info and the MTA Employment FAQs web page. (http://mta.info/nyct/hr/faqs.htm - broken link)
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Old 07-14-2009, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
213 posts, read 647,139 times
Reputation: 376
Hello my friend , here's a question I can actually help with instead of making jokes ...

I'm a subway motorman (train operator) for a little over 2 years. I got hired in June of 07 off the second open competitive exam that they gave. You took the third.

For starters , as for the hiring process. You took the open competitive exam. You claim you got 14/80 , which I'm being very honest , is bad either way. You either got 14 right out of 80 which means you failed , or got 14 wrong out of 80 which I believe would have given you a passing score of around 83% but little chance of ever realistically getting hired. When I took it , there was 70 questions on it , and I got 69 right and my list number was in the high 300's and I still had to wait over 3 years to get called. The MTA must promote in house first (conductors , etc.) who took the exam as a promotional exam , and once they've exhausted the promotional list , then can activate the open competitive. The MTA just went through a 2 year hiring blitz for motormen , there has been classes of up to 80 motormen going through every couple of months non stop since 2007. They had a shortage of motormen and wanted to get to the level they needed. Altogether we only have around I think 6-7 thousand T/O's period. We're not like the NYPD with over 30 thousand officers where they hire classes of several hundred to 2000. I'm only on 2+ years and I already have seniority on 15% or so of all train operators. Basically , they're not going to be needing to hire many off the test you took. I hope you read your score slip wrong , and did better. You're going to need to get a 95% to have any realistic chance of getting hired , even though 70% is the passing grade.

Now , as for qualifications if they do call you : What you need to go to 'school car' , which is our training program , is a HS diploma or GED plus 5 years of full time work experience (they will substitute 1 year of college for 1 year of work , up to 4 years , but you still need at least one year of work experience somewhere if you had a 4 year degree because they don't want this to be anybody's first ever job). You could have worked in McDonald's or been the President , the MTA doesn't care because nothing you did before you got hired could in any way give you any preparation or experience in operating a subway train. Can't take college courses for it , intern on a subway , or the like. You will start like everyone else not knowing anything , and they will teach you. Even for someone that was a railroad engineer , it is not the same as operating a subway train , even T/O's from other cities don't know the job because we're one of the last places left where the vast majority of trains are operated by hand and not computers. Only on the L line , and soon the 7 is there automated train operation , and even then it's not 24 hours. The cool looking R-160 trains that you see that make the automated anouncements are hand operated although you can't see the motorman's hands from the platform doing it.

Once you pass the test , and they get to your list number , you'll be called down for processing. You will take a drug test , and they will disqualify you without hesitation if anything pops up. Next , you will fill out a 20 page booklet on your background , as well as undergo an FBI fingerprint and background inverstigation. They do not play around with this , the MTA for all it's faults is very careful about who they hire to operate their trains , for obvious reasons. You will be disqualified if : you are a convicted felon , have a dishonorable military discharge , have any orders of protection currently issued against you (and possibly even if you have any from the past not currently active) , if you have a record of discharge from previous employment due to discipline problems (and they will know ... any job you ever had on the books has reported your pay , even if it was 1 hour , to the social security administation, and the investigators get the social security printout to verify your work history so the job you got canned from for telling your boss to go f--k off on your second day , and you got a check for 10 hours mailed to you , two weeks later , yeah , they know about it and that you didn't tell them) ... and if you are caught lying about anything on the pre-employment book , you will be gone. Sometimes they don't complete the investigations until candidates are almost finished with training , and if they catch you in a lie (and they love to do this) they will have you pulled out of training and fired immediately , and the union cannot do squat to help you with that.

You will take a full , comprehensive medical exam. While I don't know everything that you can be disqualified for , the four big things that I know jammed people up was ... #1 - Diabetes / #2 - poor pre-employment EKG / #3 - poor vision/hearing / #4 - High Blood Pressure (they don't want you having a heart attack and dying while operating the train. That would tie up service , which is a big no-no ) ........ On some medical issues you could be disqualified outright , on others they will place a hold on you and you'll have to come back after you get a private doctor to say your ok to work the job (liability issues). If you are overweight the doctor will take you in a private room to perform various exercises to confirm you are fit enough to climb on and off the front of the train , which you will do a lot on the job.

If you pass the drug screening / background / and medical , they will assign you to a class ,(which will be broken up into smaller groups. In my case we were broken into groups of 10-11 people that you train with for the entire time) and then you will start what is known as 'school car' , the training program to learn to operate a subway train. In my case I passed the drug test / background investigation / and medical all on the first shot with no holds. Time wise it took me 3 1/2 years to get to the start of that process and two-three months to complete it and start training. I took the test in October 2003 , got my results in January '04 ... then waited , waited , and waited some more. I got called for the drig test at the end of March '07 and began 'school car' the first week of June '07.

Your first week of school car will basically be an orientation to the MTA. You'll go through five days of things they need you to know but have no bearing on subway train operation directly. Terrorism training , watching videos , learning about the American's with disabilities act , being fitted for your uniform , getting your books and tools for the course , going over job benefits and filling out forms , etc. Your first day will probably be at the HQ on Livingston street , then from then on you will report for schooling at the MTA training center , a converted former public school building near Bay 25th street on the D line in Bensonhurst , Brooklyn. You will also pick a division to work in , A (the number lines (IRT) - or the B division (letter lines (IND/BMT) ... almost everyone picks the division with the most terminals close to their home for obvious reasons. If you live in Bay Ridge , picking the A division makes no sense , for obvious reasons if you look at the map. If you pick A division , you will go through 3 1/2 months of training. If you pick B , it's 5 1/2 months of training. The reasons for the disparity is in the B division (my division) you have to learn to operate about 10 types of trains , and in the A , only two , plus the B division has more lines and yards you have to post.

The next two weeks or so will be classroom instruction. You'll get track qualified , learn about the rail syatem , the signalling system , go to fire school , learn how to evacuate a train , and learn a lot of book stuff. In about the third or fourth week , depending on your instructors , you'll finally get on a train in the yard , learn the basics to get it ready for service , how to do your 45 minute inspections of it , and once you know how to charge the air brake system , you and your classmates will take turns going up and down the track at less than 10mph to get a feel for the throttle and braking.
You'll spend the next several weeks learning all about the trains , and eventually going down the road in a full length train that is not in service practicing stopping the train on the mark at the stations. This is where you will earn your living , knowing how to properly stop the train. Taking propulsion is a piece of cake , stopping the train properly is what the job is all about. We're actually not 'train drivers' , we're 'train stoppers'. (you'll also get the 'finger' quite a bit from pissed off passengers on the platform that don't know why they are seeing 12 guys in orange MTA vests standing around on a train that is not picking them up ... must be typical lazy MTA workers , right? Wrong , it's motormen in training ... so if anyone reading this ever gave me the finger , well , <--- (sticking my tongue out at you)

To complete 'school car' you will have to pass a mid-term and final exam (multiple choice questions). You must get an 80% to pass each test , and you only get one shot at it. You must pass a signals exam midway through the course , with a score of 100%. If you get one signal question wrong , you fail , and you're gone. Again , you only get one shot at it. You also must pass 4 practical exams which are hands on exams where a Superintendent will supervise you doing the following (on 4 separate days spread throughout the course) ... #1 - cutting and adding train cars apart/together ... #2 - How to inspect a train for passenger (road) service ... #3 - How to overcome a break pipe rupture or train tripped into emergency ... and #4 - The road practical - an inspection of you making several station stops properly. --- You get two chances for each practical , at the Superintendent's discretion. If you fail the first time but came close he or she can let you re-test in the afternoon , once. If you fail the re-test , you're gone. They don't play in school car. Some trainees come in thinking that the job must be a piece of cake. Our training program is thorough and no joke , and the trainers do not play games. And if they think you're a clown or not up to the task , they can recommend you be booted from the program. And you probably will get that boot.
You must also post (work) every line in your division twice , each time under supervision of a qualified train operator for that day , as well as post each yard twice where the instructors will grill you and make sure you know what you're doing. Yard jobs are the toughest part of the job. being on the 'road' is much easier.

If you survive to the end (ha ha , 'survive' , it's not that bad) ... you'll be on probation for the first year (which includes time in school car). While on probation you can be terminated by the MTA for any reason they see fit with the exception of anything already protected by federal , state and local laws (the same things which apply to all jobs in the country). Although for most minor mistakes , you'll be sent for retraining. (My record is spotless , never had an incident ... I know , I'm bragging , but I deserve to , so I will).

Once you graduate , for about the first 2 - 2 1/2 years you'll be at the mercy of crew assignement. Basically you'll work a different line , start at a different terminal , and have a different report time every day. This is known as the dreaded extra extra list. You'll get your job assignments via an automated phone line or through the job sheets they print every day , 48 hours in advance. You can be assigned to work a line in passenger service , work in a yard , be assigned to switching duty at a terminal (basically you put trains in and out of service as the dispatcher needs). You can also be assigned to the extra board which you will either love or hate. Basically that means you report for work and wait for a job to open up somewhere in the system. If you're on the board 8 hours and don't pick up a job , you go home , and get paid for those 8 hours (which is very rare) ... but what happens 90+% of the time is you will sit anywhere up until the 8 hours and if a job opens up (someone calls out sick , gets sent for a random drug test , has an incident , ex.) , you'll be sent to do it. But you'll be paid the whole time. So let's say you report to Stillwell Ave at 13:00 and sit until a D job opens up in Bedford Park at 16:47. You'll get paid 3:47 board time , let's say the job lasts from 16:47 to 01:38 , you'll make 8:51 for the job , plus deadhead time of about an hour twenty minutes back to Stillwell. So you'll make 8 hours plus over 5 hours OT for the day , but you'll start at Stillwell , ride as a passenger up to Bedford Park , make two trips on the D up and down (maybe do a put-in or layup too) , then finish wherever the job finishes. You'll make about $30/hr straight time , $45/hr for OT , which is good money , but you'll basically do nothing but work , sleep , and work for about the first 3 years on the job. After that it will get progressively easier and better each year until you retire.

I hope I answered all your questions. If you have any more questions , re-read what I wrote and you'll find what you missed ... (just kidding , you can send me a 'direct message' , where I'll forward you the details of how to wire money to my bank account for answers to any further questions you may have.)

Best of luck , hope you get hired and we see you down here one day.

Last edited by MotormanMike; 07-14-2009 at 07:09 AM..
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 19,473,049 times
Reputation: 10118
Hey there BajanMike! Like Motorman Mike, I also work for MTA--I got hired as a conductor, and these days I'm a tower operator. Just wanted to say that you shouldn't get discouraged by Mike's information. It's all true--but for some reason, in the wild and wacky world of MTA, things can work out even when you aren't expecting anything. So...good luck!

(Allegedly, Governor Patterson has a bill on his desk that would inaugurate a "20-50" arrangement for us MTA employees. That is to say, you'd be able to retire at the age of 50 with 20 years of service. It has been said that he's in favor of signing it. If he does, quite a few employees with sufficient seniority are likely to put in their papers. That's one of the main reasons the last train operator test was given--in anticipation of a lot of job openings. So never give up hope).
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Old 07-14-2009, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
1,810 posts, read 4,150,097 times
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I also took the O/C T/O exam last month. Unofficially my score is 88.75%, you will receive your list number in the mail up to 1yr from the exam. It was a hard exam, I only know of one person who got just 1 wrong, and a couple of others who got only 2 wrong.

Keep in mind that veterans get +10 added to their raw score. It's been mentioned on the nyc transit forums that you need to score at least a 92% to get the call, but it all comes down to list numbers and tie breakers(date you filed for the exam). The fastest way into the MTA is by taking the B/O exam,the last 2 B/O exams have short lists(4,885) (3,758). There are more B/O's then T/O's and
seniority moves a lot faster in the dept of buses. Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Brooklyn
213 posts, read 647,139 times
Reputation: 376
I hope you all make it , I really do. I'm not rooting against anyone , believe me. Just saying it's tough with a score less than 90 on ANY civil service exam , and especially this one , right now. However , maybe you all make it in. Best of luck. I also heard too , that this exam they just gave was harder than the last one they gave , so I guess I lucked out and the people that took it with me. If I can help provide any more info let me know or Direct Message me.

FredX , how you been? Anything interesting lately? I heard the same thing about 20/50 when Spitzer was in. It's not coming anytime soon. There's no chance , and I'll take cash bets laying great odds against it ... lol. I brought it up in a crew room a few months back and I had a few of the senior guys roaring. It even became a personal joke between me and one guy on the Q with 20+ years. Every time I see him I smile and say 20/50 and he seems to get a real kick out of it. It's not happening. I got hired back in 2000 to be a State Corrections Officer too , but I turned it down. As state employees they're 25/55 too like us. I can't see it happening for any state jobs that don't have it already. And I think only state troopers have it. I'll bet you three free call-ons if I hit any homeballs at towers you're working versus a week of my pay that we don't get it before the contract that's in arbitration now is eventually up in a few years.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
1,810 posts, read 4,150,097 times
Reputation: 507
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotormanMike View Post
I hope you all make it , I really do. I'm not rooting against anyone , believe me. Just saying it's tough with a score less than 90 on ANY civil service exam , and especially this one , right now. However , maybe you all make it in. Best of luck. I also heard too , that this exam they just gave was harder than the last one they gave , so I guess I lucked out and the people that took it with me. If I can help provide any more info let me know or Direct Message me.
"Just saying it's tough with a score less than 90 on ANY civil service exam."

I took the B/O exam(last year). My score was 85%,list number #706, another guy got a 90%, and his list number is #170. He will be in the 1st class once they finish the list from the previous exam, and I most likely will be in the 2nd or 3rd class(assuming that each class has 105 students).

The easiest and fastest way to become a T/O is by taking and scoring well on the promotional exam. So first and foremost try to get into the MTA through another job title.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:50 AM
 
2 posts, read 62,272 times
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I was wondering if there any open slots to take the test, and if there is where to get the application? Thank you.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: LES & Brooklyn
477 posts, read 1,235,080 times
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Testing is closed not for this exam. Others are to open soon. Here is the schedule:

Yearly Exams Schedule
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,060 posts, read 19,473,049 times
Reputation: 10118
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotormanMike View Post
FredX , how you been? Anything interesting lately? I heard the same thing about 20/50 when Spitzer was in. It's not coming anytime soon. There's no chance , and I'll take cash bets laying great odds against it ... lol. I brought it up in a crew room a few months back and I had a few of the senior guys roaring. It even became a personal joke between me and one guy on the Q with 20+ years. Every time I see him I smile and say 20/50 and he seems to get a real kick out of it. It's not happening. I got hired back in 2000 to be a State Corrections Officer too , but I turned it down. As state employees they're 25/55 too like us. I can't see it happening for any state jobs that don't have it already. And I think only state troopers have it. I'll bet you three free call-ons if I hit any homeballs at towers you're working versus a week of my pay that we don't get it before the contract that's in arbitration now is eventually up in a few years.
From my understanding, Patterson was just about to sign it when the current financial situation broke. Oh well, easy come, easy go!

Can't take that bet for the free call-ons, because I don't think there are any miracles on schedule to make that signing a reality before the next contract. (On the other hand, next election we might get lucky and put a REAL governor in the state house--at such time, we can discuss the bet again!)
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