Operator requirements: good attitude, awareness and taking your job very seriously. That’s just the beginning of what is required of a light rail operator.

Debby Thacker, Valley Metro Assistant Manager of Rail Operations, said operator candidates go through a seven-week training course. “It’s three weeks of classroom and four weeks on the job,” said Thacker. 

LR Drivers Training

Alternate Concept International (ACI) is the contractor providing operators for Valley Metro Rail. Greg Woods, ACI General Manager, said operators must have consistently good judgment. He remarked that a light rail train can be an intimidating piece of equipment.  “It's not for everybody,” Woods said. “Having prior transit experience is an advantage.” 

Abe Ahmad is a veteran Valley Metro Rail employee at the Operations and Maintenance Center and a former light rail train operator. He said it takes a lot of focus when operating a light rail train. “You’ve got to pay attention to what people are doing out there,” Ahmad said. He added that it’s important to continually keep an eye on everything in view, including pedestrians and drivers. According to Ahmad, Valley Metro looks for operators who have discipline, focus, and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

LR Train At Night

Valley Metro light rail trains make around 200 trips on a normal weekday, covering 28 miles from Phoenix to Mesa. Valley Metro carries 14.3 million passengers annually. 

Learn more about becoming a Valley Metro Rail Operator or find other jobs at Valley Metro by visiting valleymetro.org/careers.

Mark Carlson Valley Metro
Mark Carlson
Valley Metro Operations Communications Specialist
Mark brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his position, including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. Mark attended Arizona State University majoring in sociology, communications and religion.