Yarra Trams Driver Info

  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
G'day all,

I posted a similar thread in the employment section about three weeks ago and didn't get a response so I thought i'd try my luck in the Trams and Light Rail section.

Basically i'm considering a career change and am trying to find out as much information as possible about a tram drivers position with Yarra Trams. I'm hoping someone is able to share their experiences and let me know such things as pro's and con's, approximate pay, length of shifts, expected and available overtime and so on. Another important aspect is if you have the opportunity to select your preferred depot to work from. Out of curiosity, how and when do rest breaks occur? Do you swap with another driver at designated locations or do you just eat etc on board? And lastly, how many return trips do you do in a shift? This will obviously vary greatly between routes, but using route 70 to wattle park for example, would you do about 3-4 trips?

Any information regarding the role is greatly appreciated.


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  msilsby Deputy Commissioner

Location: Canberra
Pay is good.

Once you have gotten through 12 months, with a bit of over time you are looking at $60-$80k a year.

Current process is that you spend 12 months between driving and customer service (standing on a platform, feeling like an idiot).

Expect to be the 'smeg'. Your roster is given to you a week in advance for the first 12 months, after which you go on the general roster. Glenhuntly had 150 different 'lines' - with each line being 7 days. In other words, you worked through a complete roster over a 3 year period.

The roster is set up as a week of earlies, then a week of lates. If you are lucky, you can find a swap and only do 'lates'. Be warned. The late may be only a few minutes later than the early. Expect to do lots of broken shifts as well. If the break is more than 90 minutes, you get paid an extra 2 hours.

Expect to work christmas and new years eve every year.

Pay is fortnightly - most pay periods I averaged about $1800 after tax (hex debt, etc.).

Full uniform - lots of tax deductions (don't forget those 'industry publications'!).

Also, an opportunity to go to other depots if and when you get bored.

I regret going to Metro - the ability to slip under the radar is significantly better with the trams. Not to mention a new tram always looks cooler than a new train. (I.e. A new E class versus a new X crap.)
  chapzboy Station Master

msilsby, what did you mean about "slipping under the radar"? Smile
  chapzboy Station Master

Just to add to msilsby's comments.
Due to the fact that the role is worked on an almost a 24-hour rotating roster, and the fact that working one of your days off ("DOC" - day off cancelled) many (or most) weeks of the year is common, means that the job can consume most of your life. (DOC's are for all intents and purposes optional, and many Drivers do not do them at all - however, when you have a Depot Starter asking you to come in to work, with you knowing that you will be grossing several hundred dollars extra for the week's pay packet if you do work the day off, the temptation to say "yes" is often irresistible). Your social life will suffer and you will lose friends, and if you are the kind of person that likes to maintain regular hobbies/interests outside of work that have set times/days, you'll find it difficult.

The shift work is quite hard on the body (although this can be minimised by swapping to do consistent shifts, e.g. earlies, as much as possible). What you will find is that a large number of Drivers chase early shifts, so if that is also your preferred shift, you will find some weeks where you are stuck with a different shift. Late shifts are probably the least popular, so if you like working at night, you will become very popular around the Depot very quickly. Broken (split) shifts are also not popular with most Drivers.

Also hard on the body is the fact that you are essentially sitting, constantly, for a total of 8 hours in the day. Toilet breaks are possible at every termini, and some routes have intermediate toilet options. Turnaround times at termini are now generally designed to be the minimum possible (factoring in known late/congested runs and "fortuitous" long turnarounds that can occur due to running times and the timetable), so don't expect much down time to stretch the legs or have a smoke. Standby time is now also virtually a thing of the past.

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