Light Rail Operator

King County   Pioneer Square, WA   Full-time     Manufacturing / Production / Operations
Posted on May 19, 2023
Apply Now

$26.57 - $37.96 Hourly


Multiple locations in King County, WA

Job Type

Career Service, Full Time, 40 hrs/week

Job Number



MTD - Metro Transit



Opening Date


Closing Date

6/4/2023 11:59 PM Pacific



Bargaining Unit

J2 : ATU L587-Transit


Learn how Metro connects you with what matters

Become a Rail Operator - A Career That Takes You Places!

King County Metro's Rail Division is seeking motivated individuals to join our team as Rail Operators. Rail operators interface with customers and the Link Control Center. Ideal candidates possess confidence, patience, good communications skills and consistently demonstrate sound judgment and good decision making. Working in Rail offers a wide variety of opportunities to showcase your skills as the Rail Division grows. This planned growth will create many promotional and training opportunities for personnel. Get in on the ground floor and get your career started with Metro's Rail Division!

About King County Metro Transit
King County Metro Transit is a regional leader in helping people move quickly throughout the region, reducing commuter stress, greening the environment and radically improving urban air quality, by providing comfortable, effective transit services for the thousands of commuters and other residents of King County, Washington. Working for Metro means working for a leader in this public transportation industry. Metro was named Outstanding Public Transportation System of 2018 by APTA, the American Public Transportation Association.

Link Light Rail
Metro Transit's Rail Division is responsible for operating and maintaining Link Light Rail service on a 24.7 mile route from the Angle Lake Station south of Sea-Tac Airport to Northgate. Plans and/or construction are underway extending the system to the north, east, south, and west. Expansion over the next five years alone will include the addition of more than 20 stations and 40 miles of light rail track. The light rail line is a critical part of the region's transportation network and carries more than 79,000 daily weekday riders.

This position is considered safety sensitive. Applicants for these positions are required to undergo drug testing prior to employment and subsequent to commencement of employment, will be subject to random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, return to duty, and follow-up drug and alcohol testing in compliance with Federal DOT alcohol and controlled substance testing program protocols.

Great Benefits
King County provides our employees with a free transportation pass (good on most regional transit systems). We offer a competitive benefits package including medical, dental and vision benefits for the whole family and state-registered domestic partner. A competitive sick leave and vacation plan, twelve holidays a year, and participation in the State's popular Public Employees Retirement Plan (PERS) are provided, as well as the option of participating in the County's deferred compensation plan (a 457 plan). For more details, please see the next tab.

Who May Apply
This position is open to the general public and all King County employees and will be used to establish an eligibility list to fill future career service vacancies, and Rail Operator Reserve list if needed, until the eligibility list is exhausted. Internal applicants who are represented by the ATU 587 contract will receive an additional 5% on passing test scores and an additional 5% added to their interview score.

Work Schedule
This position is non-exempt from the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and is overtime eligible. The work schedule may include non- standard work hours including evenings, weekends and holidays as needed. Work schedules are based on a seniority "pick" system, which occurs three times a year.

Program Overview
  • Training includes light rail vehicle (LRV) operation, rules & regulations, vehicle and wayside systems
  • Hands-on training includes manual operation of system components in all weather conditions
  • Closed book written exams require a passing score of 90%, some require 100%
  • Performance exams conducted the final week of training requires 90% passing score
  • Candidates successfully completing the training course will graduate as a certified LRV Operator and earn a Rail Card
How To Apply
Click on the "Apply" link in the upper right of the job announcement on our website's job page ( ), and complete the employment application and supplemental questions thoroughly. See Application Process below for additional important information on completing your application. For assistance with the online application process, please contact NEOGOV Customer Support toll free at: 1-877-204-4442 ( customer support).

Questions please reach out to:
Janay Brim, Senior Talent Advisor

Job Duties

Applying equity and social justice principles is a daily responsibility and a foundational expectation for all King County employees. In this role you will apply equity and social justice principles that exemplify shared values, behaviors, and practices to all aspects of the work. You will:
  • Provide safe, professional, and courteous on-time light rail service for customers in King County.
  • Conduct self in an appropriate manner as a representative of KC Metro & Sound Transit using sound judgment at all times, working safely on the job, respecting co-workers and assuring the quality of services to all customers both internal and external.
  • Operate LRV in revenue and non-revenue service in strict compliance with King County Light Rail rules and procedures pertaining to operations.
  • Reports all unusual occurrences including vehicle and Right-of-Way to the Controller and follows all traffic, safety, emergency and standard rules and operating procedure.
  • Successfully communicate with and follow directions from LINK Control Center via radio.
  • Communicate effectively with all customers regarding service delays, disruptions, and during emergency situations.
  • Prepare, submit and maintain accident and incident reports and other documentation as determined by management.
  • Operate test trains as required for acceptance of equipment and all other tests required which specify the need for train operations.
Experience, Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills

Minimum Qualifications
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Experience providing verifiable and exceptional customer service to the public
  • Reliable transportation to report to work
  • Ability to read, speak and write in English
  • Work history must be verifiable, including self-employment
The most competitive candidates will have experience performing safe driving techniques and principles in public transportation vehicles in accordance with schedules, skill in oral and written communications, managing multiple tasks simultaneously and working with a variety of individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Necessary Special Requirement
  • A valid Washington State driver's license is required.
  • Must have or be able to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination and maintain certification and National Registry number
  • Ability to successfully complete the LRV Operator Training Program, obtain LRV Certification and maintain LRV Certification
Working Conditions
  • Able to climb stairs and board rail on elevated guide way
  • Sit for extended periods
  • Lift or pull up to thirty (30) pounds
  • Perform repetitive body movements to operate controls
  • Work independently with a minimum of breaks
Supplemental Information

Application Process
It is important to fill out your application accurately. Applications will be screened for completeness, clarity and competitiveness. Applicants should complete the online application at as described above. NOTE: Please answer all relevant questions in the online employment application itself, with each of your jobs during the last 10 years listed (if you have ten years) (listing each position for each employer separately), duties explained, reasons for leaving, etc. Earlier jobs should be included if they are relevant in some way to this job and if they relate to our minimum qualifications. If you have questions about this, please contact the HR contact stated above.

Application Closing Date: Closing Date for Applications: 06/4/23

Information Session: We will offer informational sessions in virtual formats after the posting closes to interested candidates. The information sessions will go over the details of the posting and day in the life of a Light Rail Operator. Applicants are highly encouraged to participate in this information session.

Selection Process
Based on application content, the most competitive candidates will be invited to participate in competency-based testing.

Online Competency based exam details:
  • Customer Service Aptitude Profile (CSAP): Measure's personality traits that are critical to success in customer service
  • Criteria Attention Skills Test (CAST): Measures the ability to sustain focus and maintain concentration
Candidates will need to have a passing individual score of Recommended or Highly Recommended on the CSAP portion of the test and 50% or higher on the CAST portion to move forward in the selection process.

Note: Applicants will not be paid for information session or the online pre-employment self-testing.

Interviews: Candidates that successfully pass both parts of the competency based testing will be invited to interview. Interviews are anticipated to begin the week of 6/26/23

Those who pass the competency-based exams, interview, and successfully pass an initial record review* will be placed on an eligibility list in seniority order as determined by ATU Local 587. Participation in upcoming classes will be done in accordance with the seniority list. Once selected to enter a class from the seniority list each candidate must successfully pass a second record review. Those that do not pass the record review at this step will be disqualified and removed from the eligibility list.

Please note that record reviews will be completed and must be successfully passed prior to ATU 587 seniority verification and again prior to placement into a Rail Operator training class.

If an applicant chooses not to move forward with training when offered, they will be removed from eligibility list. Entry into an LRO training class by an internal candidate will be done in accordance with R19.3 Promotional Lists.

*The record review process is an internal process specifically for internal ATU 587 applicants.


Rail Operator training is intensive and includes classroom and hands-on operating instruction. During the training period, no vacation is allowed. Any pre-arranged time-off will need to be postponed. Employees who complete Rail Operator training and become certified will either enter a regular career service position or temporary assignment, if available. If there are no vacancies internal candidates will become a Reserve Rail Operator and will return to their FTO/Streetcar/PTO position. As needed, Rail will offer temporary assignments to employees on the reserve list in order to fill temporary workforce shortages in seniority order. For operators on the reserve list, if a temporary assignment or career service position becomes available, the employee must accept the assignment.

Final Offers are contingent upon successful completion of:
  • Demonstrating acceptable driving history by obtaining your current Washington State Abstract of Driving Record - FULL (This is a date sensitive document and cannot be accepted early; please don't submit until requested.)
  • Successfully completing DOT Drug and Alcohol paperwork and passing a two-year drug and alcohol background check
  • Successfully passing reference checks/record review
  • Successfully passing the criminal background review
  • Satisfactorily completing the DOT physical exam against the Metro Transit Job Analysis to receive an acceptable DOT medical card and/or waiver that is approved by King County Metro Transit
Driving Record
An excellent driving record is a requirement to become a Light Rail Operator In Training. Applicants' driving records will be reviewed prior to selection. Metro Transit Human Resources will require a current Five-Year Driving Abstract from the Washington State Department of Licensing. Please do not provide this abstract until requested. Driving records will be assessed on an individual basis and will be reviewed for the following: Frequency and seriousness of moving violations, suspension of license, failures to appear (FTA'S), unpaid tickets, and at fault accidents.

Any of the following vehicle code violations within the last five years will automatically disqualify you from further consideration:
  • Hit and run incidents
  • Vehicular Homicide
  • Open Container Violation
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Negligent driving
  • More than one at fault accident
Record Review (Internal Applicants) Employee records will be reviewed for the candidate's most recent 12 months of active operating service. Fifteen days of active operating service will be considered a full month. If the candidate does not have a full month of active service in the twelve month window we will look back a maximum of eighteen months to find twelve months of active service. Applicants will be screened out of the LRO selection process 1) if the candidate does not have twelve months of active service in an eighteen month window 2) the record review totals 18 or more points, assigned as follows:
  • Major Infraction (18 Points each)
  • Suspension or Decision Making Leave (10 Points each)
  • Written Reminder (5 Points each)
  • Oral Reminder (3 Points each)
  • Unexcused Absences (6 Points each)
  • Late Reports/Misses (purged misses will be counted, 3 Points each)
  • Preventable Accidents
    • Severe = 18
    • Major = 9
    • 1st Minor Accident = 5
    • Successive Minor Accidents = 7
Union Membership
This position is represented by Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587.

Class Code: 9602000

Together, with leadership and our employees, we're changing the way government delivers service and winning national recognition as a model of excellence. Are you ready to make a difference? Come join the team dedicated to serving one of the nation's best places to live, work and play.

Guided by our "True North", we are making King County a welcoming community where every person can thrive. We value diversity, inclusion and belonging in our workplace and workforce. To reach this goal we are committed to workforce equity. Equitable recruiting, support, and retention is how we will obtain the highest quality workforce in our region; a workforce that shares and will help advance our guiding principles--we are one team; we solve problems; we focus on the customer; we drive for results; we are racially just; we respect all people; we lead the way; and we are responsible stewards. We encourage people of all backgrounds and identities to apply, including Native American and people of color, immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ+, people living with disabilities, and veterans.

King County is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Employer
No person is unlawfully excluded from employment opportunities based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation and pregnancy), age, genetic information, disability, veteran status, or other protected class. Our EEO policy applies to all employment actions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, selection for training, promotion, transfer, demotion, layoff, termination, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.

To Apply
If you are interested in pursuing this position, please follow the application instructions carefully. If you need this announcement in an alternate language or format, would like to request accommodation or assistance in the application or assessment process or if you have questions please contact your recruiter listed on this job announcement.


King County offers a highly-competitive compensation and benefits package designed to meet the diverse needs of our employees and support our employees' health and well-being. Eligible positions receive the following benefits and have access to the following programs:
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage: King County pays 100% of the premiums for eligible employees and family members
  • Life and disability insurance: employees are provided basic coverage and given the opportunity to purchase additional insurance for both the employee and eligible dependents
  • Retirement: King County employees are eligible to participate in a pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems and a 457(b) deferred-compensation plan
  • Transportation program and ORCA transit pass
  • 12paid holidays each year (plus 2 personal holidays)
  • Generous vacation and paid sick leave
  • Paid parental leave, family and medical leaves, and volunteer leave
  • Flexible Spending Account
  • Wellness programs
  • Onsite gyms and activity centers
  • Employee giving program
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Flexible schedules and telecommuting options, depending on position
  • Training and career development programs
For additional information about employee benefits please visit our Benefits, Payroll, and Retirement Page .

This is a general description of the benefits offered to eligible King County employees, and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. If any information on this document conflicts with the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA prevails. Also, in the event of any incorrect information in this document, applicable laws, policies, rules, CBAs, or official plan documents will prevail.

NOTE: Benefits for Term Limited Temporary (TLT) or Short Term Temporary (STT) positions, including leave eligibility and/or participation in the pension plan through the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems, will vary based upon the terms and details of the position.Short Term Temporary positions are not eligible for an ORCA transit pass.

For inquiries about the specifics of this position, please contact the recruiter identified on this job posting.