On board passenger attendants provide customer services for passengers on long distance train trips, including: assisting passengers to board trains, assisting with luggage, checking tickets and directing passengers to seats or sleeping cabins, preparing and serving meals in the buffet car, packing stock, and doing stocktakes. They take also take action if there is an accident or if a passenger becomes ill. In New Zealand, they may be required to manage emergency situations and assist in the overall operation of the train.
Knowledge, skills and attributes
On board passenger attendants need to have exceptional interpersonal and communication skills. They also need to be very healthy and maintain safety standards, have good problem-solving and decision-making skills and a good memory for learning safety procedures and regulations. They must have a positive customer focus and a strong regard for safety.
On board passenger attendants work on comfortable, air-conditioned trains. They may be required to do overnight trips as well as day trips and may work a rotating roster including nights, weekends and public holidays.
Entry requirements and ongoing training and development
You can become an on board passenger attendant without formal qualifications, but employers usually require completion of relevant secondary school qualifications. Once you are employed, you will receive formal training, both on and off the job. Training may include formal teaching, role-playing, practical and on-the-job activities. In Australia, there are vocational qualifications in passenger services. Some organisations may offer a traineeship in customer service or passenger services. Having a positive customer service attitude would be well regarded.
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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).
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There are many options open to you and 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. You may become a supervisor, coach, or trainer and assessor. In larger organisations, you may progress with further training and experience to become a customer service or crew manager.
A move into sales or training would also be possible. In Australia, there are related vocational qualifications in customer service, sales and business administration 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.
The jobs below may require additional qualifications as well as experience.