Did you know?

In New Zealand, the rail industry also carries freight by sea between the North and South Islands. This means additional careers including ferry drivers, forklift drivers and other roles involved in freight handling.and customer service.

Occupation description

The specific duties of people working in customer and fare compliance roles vary between organisations. Generally, the role is aimed at improving the customer’s travel experience and comfort, and protecting train revenue, for example, checking rail passenger tickets and issuing fines for ticket irregularities. They work in a team environment and can be required to assist in emergencies, with crowd control and provide first aid. Customer and fare compliance positions include:

  • Transport officers: transport officers may patrol trains as well as platforms and interchanges. They have a strong customer service focus that includes identifying and resolving non-compliance of minor offences (e.g. smoking and feet on seats). They also assist with passenger enquiries, technology and check tickets and ticket checking equipment at stations.
  • Train guards: typically train guards patrol carriages and the platform, check tickets and help passengers to board and disembark trains and may be responsible for opening and closing train doors. Some train guards communicate with the train driver about signal information from a network control centre.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

People working in customer and fare compliance need strong conflict resolution skills and highly developed negotiation skills, ability to interpret and apply policies and legislation, able to deal with people from range of backgrounds, and able to keep accurate and detailed reports.  They must have a positive customer focus and a strong regard for safety.

Working conditions

This is a physical job where you will spend time travelling on trains and along platforms. Generally, guards work shifts, including weekends and public holidays.

Entrance requirements and ongoing training and development

You can start a career in customer and fare compliance without formal qualifications, but employers usually require completion of relevant secondary school qualifications. Once you are employed, you will receive intensive formal training, both on and off the job. Some rail organisations may offer a related traineeship. Registration or licensing may also be required. Previous experience in customer service and a First Aid certificate would be useful in this career. 

The websites below will provide you with more information on training opportunities.

The value of a career in the rail industry

For even more details on what you might earn, the diversity of companies you could work for and the career opportunities available, visit the following careers and training websites. Careers in Rail by the Australasian Railway Association, About the Rail Industry by Rail Skills Australasia and Rail Training by the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

For more information

Career paths

Your career will take different turns depending on your stage in life and personal circumstances. Typically, you will progress from an entry level role through to more senior or supervisory roles depending on the size of the organisation. With further training and experience, you may become a supervisor, trainer and assessor or rostering officer.

In Australia, there are rail and security-related vocational qualifications that may help you in your career.

This information is generic. Job titles and the experience and qualifications needed to move into other jobs may vary depending on the structure and needs of your organisation and government rules and regulations. 

Career Path Flowchart

Typical career path for customer and fare compliance careers

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