Conductor (transportation)

Conductor (transportation)

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A conductor is a member of a railway train's crew that is responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve the actual operation of the train. The title of conductor is most associated with railway operations in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, but the role of conductor is common to railways worldwide albeit under different job titles. Specific job responsibilities for a conductor type position include ensuring that the train adheres to its schedule, ensuring that any cars or cargo is picked up or dropped off at the proper place, completing en-route paperwork
Waybill
A waybill or consignment note is a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions relating to the shipment of a consignment of goods. Typically it will show the names of the consignor and consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination, route, and method of...

, ensuring that the train follows applicable safety rules and practices, controlling the train's movement while operating in reverse, coupling
Coupling (railway)
A coupling is a mechanism for connecting rolling stock in a train. The design of the coupler is standard, and is almost as important as the railway gauge, since flexibility and convenience are maximised if all rolling stock can be coupled together.The equipment that connects the couplings to the...

 or decoupling cars, assisting with the setting out or picking up of rolling stock
Rolling stock
Rolling stock comprises all the vehicles that move on a railway. It usually includes both powered and unpowered vehicles, for example locomotives, railroad cars, coaches and wagons...

, carrying out running repairs, ticket collection and various customer service duties.

Some rapid transit systems may employ conductors for the purpose of making announcements and opening/closing doors — as opposed to a train operator doing the job — for safety or efficiency reasons. The conductor is often positioned in the center of the train where they can best view the platform. While advances in automation have resulted in most transit systems being run with One Person Train Operation
One Person Train Operation
One-man operation , driver-only operation or one person operation is a method of train or bus operation in which the vehicle is operated by the motorman or driver alone without a conductor.-Japan:...

 (OPTO) a few, such as the New York City Subway
New York City Subway
The New York City Subway is a rapid transit system owned by the City of New York and leased to the New York City Transit Authority, a subsidiary agency of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and also known as MTA New York City Transit...

 and Toronto Transit Commission
Toronto Transit Commission
-Island Ferry:The ferry service to the Toronto Islands was operated by the TTC from 1927 until 1962, when it was transferred to the Metro Parks and Culture department. Since 1998, the ferry service is run by Toronto Parks and Recreation.-Gray Coach:...

 continue the practice.

Conductors in North America


In North America, the conductor is the railway employee charged with the management of a freight, passenger, or various other types of train
Train
A train is a connected series of vehicles for rail transport that move along a track to transport cargo or passengers from one place to another place. The track usually consists of two rails, but might also be a monorail or maglev guideway.Propulsion for the train is provided by a separate...

, and is also the direct supervisor of the train's "Train Crew" (brakeman
Brakeman
A brakeman is a rail transport worker whose original job it was to assist the braking of a train by applying brakes on individual wagons. The advent of through brakes on trains made this role redundant, although the name lives on in the United States where brakemen carry out a variety of functions...

, flagman
Flagman (rail)
On the railroads, a flagman is an employee of the railroad who is assigned to protect contractors or any one performing work on a railroad right of way. When a train approaches a location where workers may foul the track, the train crew will call the flagman for permission to pass the work area...

, ticket collector, assistant conductor, on board service personnel). All train crew members on board the train work under his or her direction. The Conductor and Engineer
Railroad engineer
A railroad engineer, locomotive engineer, train operator, train driver or engine driver is a person who drives a train on a railroad...

, who is in charge of the locomotive(s) and any additional members of the "Engine Crew" (fireman, pilot engineer) share responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the train and for the proper application of the railways' rules and procedures. On some railroads, Conductors are required to progress to the position of Engineer as part of union contractual agreements.

Conductors usually have the following responsibilities:
  • Jointly coordinating with the engineer and dispatcher the train's movement authority, and verifying this authority is not exceeded.
  • Communicating and coordinating with other parties concerned with the operation of the train: yardmasters, trainmasters, dispatchers, on board service personnel, etc.
  • Being alert to wayside signals, position of switches, and other conditions affecting the safe movement of the train.
  • Mechanical inspection of the rolling stock.
  • Assisting the Engineer in testing the air brakes on the train.
  • Signalling the Engineer when to start moving and when and where to stop.
  • Keeping a record or log of the journey.
  • Checking the tickets and collecting fares on passenger trains.
  • Attending to the needs of passengers.
  • On a freight train, keeping the record of the consignment notes and waybills.
  • Directing, coordinating, and usually manually performing, the shunting
    Shunt (railway operations)
    Shunting, in railway operations, involves the process of sorting items of rolling stock into complete train sets or consists. The United States terminology is "switching"....

     or switching
    Switching
    LAN switching is a form of packet switching used in local area networks. Switching technologies are crucial to network design, as they allow traffic to be sent only where it is needed in most cases, using fast, hardware-based methods.- Layer 2 switching :...

     the train needs to perform.


Passenger trains may employ one or more assistant conductors, who assist the conductor and engineer in the safe and prompt movement of the train, to share the workload, and accept delegated responsibility.

If a train crew's route, or tour of duty, exceeds a single shift, or is in conflict with any rules pertaining to a legal or contractual limit to the number of hours that can be worked, more than one crew may be assigned, each with its own conductor, while onboard service crew
Car attendant
A car attendant is a railroad employee placed in charge of a single coach, sleeping car, or lounge car on a medium-to-long-distance passenger train....

 members aboard passenger trains normally remain on duty for the entire run, including their assigned meal and sleep breaks.

Since nearly the beginning of railroading in North America, on freight trains the conductor rode aboard a caboose
Caboose
A caboose is a manned North American rail transport vehicle coupled at the end of a freight train. Although cabooses were once used on nearly every freight train, their use has declined and they are seldom seen on trains, except on locals and smaller railroads.-Function:The caboose provided the...

, along with the rear flagman and the rear brakeman, and was able to perform his or her duties from there. With advances in technology and railroads seeking to reduce labor and operating costs, cabooses were made redundant and in most cases eliminated altogether. This caused the conductor to be relocated from the rear of the train to a position on the locomotive (or locomotives) at the head of the train. Gradually, these same conditions also eliminated in most cases the members of the train crew under the conductor's supervision: head and rear brakemen, flagmen, and others.

Most freight trains on most railroads today have a crew of two: one conductor and one engineer. Railroad companies continue to press for reduced operating and labor costs and this threatens to eliminate the position of conductor. Railroads rationalize that since the engineer is already qualified as a conductor he can easily assume the duties of a conductor. In fact, the progression on most railroads are that engineers begin their career as a brakeman/asst. conductor, conductor and finally engineer. Some railroads, have already implemented such a strategy, notably the Montana Rail Link, and operate with an Engineer, and an "Assistant Engineer". However, most railroads are contractually obligated to employ at least one conductor in addition to the engineer, via Crew Consist Agreements negotiated with the major rail unions, primarily the United Transportation Union
United Transportation Union
The United Transportation Union is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing about 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit, and airline workers in the United States....

 (UTU). Therefore, in order to eliminate the conductor position it would be necessary for the railroads and unions to negotiate on this issue. If the railroads were successful, the conductors that have already been trained and certified as engineers would be able to work as engineers. Those that have not yet progressed to engineer would have to be trained as engineers as positions become available. Others would have to accept other positions or possibly lose their jobs. The primary union for engineers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is a labor union founded in Marshall, Michigan, on May 8, 1863, as the Brotherhood of the Footboard. A year later, its name was changed to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, sometimes referred to as the Brotherhood of Engineers...

 does not support this movement, claiming that requiring its members to operate trains alone would be unsafe. The conductors' union, the United Transportation Union
United Transportation Union
The United Transportation Union is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It is a broad-based, transportation labor union representing about 125,000 active and retired railroad, bus, mass transit, and airline workers in the United States....

, also opposes this initiative, despite historical differences with the engineers' union.

Remote control locomotives


By the late 1990s, remote control locomotives were becoming increasingly popular on North American railroads for use in switching duties in rail yards. This system allowed the conductor to directly control the locomotive via a wireless remote unit as opposed to radioing commands to an engineer in the cab. While such operation was opposed by some due to the threat of job losses, placing control of the train in the hands of someone with direct line of sight increased both efficiency and safety and was generally supported by conductors.

Train Hosts


As there is no explicit Federal requirement for a two person train crew the Utah Transit Authority's FrontRunner
FrontRunner
FrontRunner is a commuter rail system operated by the Utah Transit Authority , serving the northern portion of the Wasatch Front from Salt Lake Central Station to Ogden Union Station. The system opened 26 April 2008...

 service was originally planned to be operated by an operator only with revenue collection being handled by a Proof of Payment system. However before operation could begin the FRA required FrontRunner to employ a second crewmember on each train to assist with emergency evacuation, disabled access and other safety sensitive situations. FrontRunner classified this job as a Train Host with the focus on customer service instead of railroad operations. Some other services such as Amtrak's Downeaster
Downeaster
The Downeaster is a 116-mile regional passenger train service managed by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and operated by Amtrak, connecting North Station in Boston, Massachusetts, to Portland, Maine...

 also make use of Train Hosts (either paid or volunteer) to assist the conductor with non-revenue related customer service duties.

Train guard (United Kingdom and Australasia)



In the UK, Australia and New Zealand, the person with ultimate responsibility for operation of a train is usually described as the guard. The term "guard" is derived from the days of stagecoach
Stagecoach
A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon for passengers and goods, strongly sprung and drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand. Widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers...

es.

Until the latter part of the 20th century, guards on passenger trains in these countries did not have routine responsibilities for ticket inspection or sale. Their jobs focused more on safe operation of their trains, timekeeping, handling parcels and other consignments, with a dedicated 'Travelling Ticket Inspector' provided. In recent years, passenger train guards have been assigned more responsibility for on-train revenue collection and ticket inspection. Under British Railways, there were several grades of guard, depending on whether the guard worked on freight or passenger trains and there was also a purely operational Guard grade that worked freight and passenger trains but without customer contact. When the Guard has a significant customer contact role, the position is usually classified as Conductor-Guard or Conductor. Since British Rail, there has been a number of titles for a Guard's grade but with a few exceptions all now carry out some sort of customer-facing role.

On long-distance expresses, the Conductor's title is sometimes enhanced to Senior Conductor in line with the implied prestige of operating these trains and historically under British Rail the long distance InterCity trains were normally worked by the most senior guards at the depot, hence the name Senior Conductor. Several of the more recent private passenger train operators in the UK have further renamed the (Senior) Conductor's passenger facing title to "Train Manager", although in the Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) Rule Book they are still referred to simply as the Guard.

Today


In Australia and New Zealand, most inner city commuter rail networks are now operated by only a Driver. A conductor is still present on long distance services, such as on V Line in the state of Victoria
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

. In Australia's largest city, Sydney, all suburban and intercity trains operate with a Driver and a Guard. The Guard is responsible for the safe operation of the train (in co-operation with the Driver) in accordance with the timetable. The Guard is primarily responsible for railway safeworking duties but also has a limited customer assistance role. Sydney Train Guards are not responsible for revenue or policing duties on trains as these roles are carried out by NSW Transit Officers.

In the United Kingdom, with technological improvements and to reduce cost, some trains have lost their Guards and became Driver Only Operated (DOO). British Rail was the first to bring this in on some commuter services in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, as well as almost all non-passenger trains. In 2003 a very controversial amendment was made to the operational rule book of the UK, removing part of the safety and operational role of the Guard to the Driver. Privatisation saw Train Operating Companies (TOC) attempt to bring in DOO to other areas of the network; c2c
C2c
c2c is a British train operating company that is part of the National Express Group. It provides passenger rail services on the London, Tilbury and Southend Railway line from Fenchurch Street railway station in the City of London to east London and the entire length of the northern Thames Gateway...

 operating from London Fenchurch Street is an example of this. Pressure after several fatal train crashes has reversed this trend for now to the point some TOCs have restored Guards to services that were stripped of them, First Great Western
First Great Western
First Great Western is the operating name of First Greater Western Ltd, a British train operating company owned by FirstGroup that serves Greater London, the South East, South West and West Midlands regions of England, and South Wales....

 did this to certain services it acquired when it took over the operation of Thames Trains
Thames Trains
Thames Trains was a British railway company, owned by the Go-Ahead Group, franchised to run regional and suburban trains from London Paddington station to destinations in the home counties west of London like Slough, to Worcester, Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Reading to Gatwick Airport...

. Currently there are several different titles used to describe a Guard; Train Manager, Train Host, Conductor and South West Trains
South West Trains
South West Trains is a British train operating company providing, under franchise, passenger rail services, mostly out of Waterloo station, to the southwest of London in the suburbs and in the counties of Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Somerset, Berkshire, and Wiltshire and on the Isle of Wight...

 still uses the term ‘Guard’. The role of the guard is set out by a mixture of the Railway Rule Book and Train Operating Companies.

As well as ticketing and customer care, Guards must be trained in "emergency protection" duties, should an emergency arise, along with other operational rules. This involves using emergency kit such as detonators, track circuit clips and flags to prevent other trains colliding with, for example a derailed train. If in a crash the driver became incapacitated, the Guard is the only person left who can protect the train. Other day-to-day duties include operating the Public Address system and the train doors.

Conductors/guards in Europe



Switzerland


In general, Conductors in Switzerland have the duty of collecting tickets and punching them, fining people the first charge of 80 CHF for not having a valid fare (tickets in Switzerland are valid for one month), to make announcements on the public address system. They also may fine passengers if they take a longer trip than normal. For example, if one takes a train to Bern via Biel, having departed from Geneva; which is a longer trip than taking the InterCity via Lausanne, the conductor can fine the passenger a supplementary fare. They sound a warning when the train's doors are going to close. Many conductors, especially those on night shift and on isolated regional lines, are being trained in self-defence against would-be assailants.

India


Guards are posted on all passenger trains and goods trains in India and no train shall move ahead without a guard on the train. The passenger train guard generally called as "Mail Guard" is completely responsible for the train, its schedule, the passengers and their safety including the driver. These guards have a specific uniform(Generally white) and belongings to carry on, before they can actually depart the trains for long journeys.

During the day, the guards still use the traditional green flag to signal the driver to depart and the red flag to stop; along with the Motorola Walkie Talkie two way radios. The flag is replaced with the lamp signals after the sunset. Before signalling the departure, a whistle is blown by the guard at least couple minutes before, as a warning to the passengers to quickly board the train. After ensuring that all passengers are safe to travel, the guard signals the green flag by waving the same out from his Brake Van door. In case of emergency, the red flag is flagged to the driver to indicate a stop; emergency brakes may also be applied by the guard to stop the train to a complete halt. In no case the driver shall move the train without a signal from the guard, indicating the guard is "in charge" of the train.

Passenger guards also accept heavy parcels and luggage boxes, those which cannot be carried in by passengers in passenger coaches. Some fast moving perishable goods like vegetables, milk are also transported under the supervision of the guard and he is responsible for proper loading and unloading of the same at various destinations mentioned on them.

Maintaining the passenger train on schedule is very important function of the guard, keeping in mind the passenger safety too. The guards have to carry a first aid box with their belongings along with other important items, all in a medium sized duty box(generally painted black in color) made of tin. The name, designation and base location of the guard are printed/painted in white on the box.

Rarely do the guards issue tickets or collect fares in India; they do when a train halt does not house a ticketing window. In this case, the cash needs to be maintained by the guard and surrendered at the destination. A designated passenger train, halting at all stations carries a very large and heavy cast iron "cash safe" in the guard's brake van, where daily ticket sales cash is deposited in a leather pouch by the Station Manager(earlier called the Station Master in India).

Since the late 1990s, all guards are provided with Motorola Walkie-Talkie/Two-way radio so that they can communicate with the driver, the trains passing in opposite direction, if required. The Walkie Talkie is yet to replace the traditional Red and Green Flags. Green and red flags and the green and red lamps signalling in India could get abandoned in future as lengths of the trains will get longer, making the flags and lamps invisible to the engine driver.

Train (streetcar) conductor


Many antique or heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

 tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

s (streetcars), which operated through the earlier part of the 20th Century, were designed for operation by a crew of two or more. The conductor primarily collected fares and signaled the driver when safe to depart from stopping places. The conductor also assisted with shunting when necessary, changing the trolley pole
Trolley pole
A trolley pole is a tapered cylindrical pole of wood or metal, used to transfer electricity from a "live" overhead wire to the control and propulsion equipment of a tram or trolley bus. The use of overhead wire in a system of current collection is reputed to be the 1880 invention of Frank J....

 and attended to passengers' needs.

Modern vehicle design and ticketing arrangements have largely done away with the need for conductors on street railways and Light Rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 systems. However in recent years a number of modern tram or Light Rail systems have introduced (or re-introduced) conductors to minimise fare evasion and to provide customer care, supervision and security functions, even in situations where a second crew member is not strictly needed on account of the vehicle design or operation.

In Britain, The Midland Metro
Midland Metro
The Midland Metro is a light-rail or tram line in the West Midlands of England between the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. It is owned and promoted by Centro, and operated by West Midlands Travel Limited, a subsidiary of the National Express Group , under...

 and Sheffield Supertram modern Light Rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 systems have both started using conductors due to problems with ticket machine reliability. Nottingham Express Transit
Nottingham Express Transit
Nottingham Express Transit is a light-rail tramway in the Nottingham area in England. The first line opened to the public on 9 March 2004, having cost £200 million to construct. The scheme took sixteen years from conception to implementation...

 started with conductors. Manchester Metrolink
Manchester Metrolink
Metrolink is a light rail system in Greater Manchester, England. It consists of four lines which converge in Manchester city centre and terminate in Bury, Altrincham, Eccles and Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The system is owned by Transport for Greater Manchester and operated under contract by RATP Group...

 and Croydon Tramlink
Tramlink
Tramlink is a tramway system in south London in the United Kingdom which began operation in May 2000...

 both rely on ticket machines at stops.

Systems of ticket checking and selling by a conductor:
  • takes place while entering, the vehicle cannot leave until this is (almost) finished
  • takes place after entering an entrance lobby, while the vehicle already moves, after which the passenger moves to the seating area of the car
  • the passengers get seated and the conductor comes to them


Modern mass transit systems which operate with conductors on tram
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

s include:-
SystemLocation
Glenelg Tram
Glenelg Tram
The Glenelg Tram is a route from the centre of Adelaide, South Australia to the beach-side suburb of Glenelg. It is Adelaide's only remaining tramway, running at approximately 15-minute intervals, and is part of the integrated Adelaide Metro public transport network...

Adelaide
Adelaide
Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. Adelaide has an estimated population of more than 1.2 million...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

GVB Amsterdam
Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf
The Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf is the municipal transport company of Amsterdam. As of 2007, the GVB is an independent corporation wholly owned by the city of Amsterdam.-History:...

 
Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

Midland Metro
Midland Metro
The Midland Metro is a light-rail or tram line in the West Midlands of England between the cities of Birmingham and Wolverhampton via West Bromwich and Wednesbury. It is owned and promoted by Centro, and operated by West Midlands Travel Limited, a subsidiary of the National Express Group , under...

Birmingham/Wolverhampton
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Blackpool tramway
Blackpool tramway
The Blackpool tramway runs from Blackpool to Fleetwood on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, England, and is the only surviving first-generation tramway in the United Kingdom. The tramway dates back to 1885 and is one of the oldest electric tramways in the world. It is run by Blackpool Transport as...

Blackpool
Blackpool
Blackpool is a borough, seaside town, and unitary authority area of Lancashire, in North West England. It is situated along England's west coast by the Irish Sea, between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, northwest of Preston, north of Liverpool, and northwest of Manchester...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 - on pre-World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 vehicles
Nottingham Express Transit
Nottingham Express Transit
Nottingham Express Transit is a light-rail tramway in the Nottingham area in England. The first line opened to the public on 9 March 2004, having cost £200 million to construct. The scheme took sixteen years from conception to implementation...

Nottingham
Nottingham
Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

RET
Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram
Rotterdamse Elektrische Tram is the main public transport operator in Rotterdam, Netherlands. It currently operates 28 bus lines, 9 tram lines and five metro/light rail lines in Rotterdam and the surrounding municipalities....

Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

Sheffield Supertram Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Metro Light Rail
Metro Light Rail
The Metro Light Rail is the only currently operating light rail line in Sydney. The line opened on 31 August 1997, mostly along the route of an unused goods railway line, to serve the redeveloped inner-city areas of Darling Harbour, Ultimo and Pyrmont, and was extended in 2000 to serve some of...

Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...


Bus conductor



Up until the 1970s and into the early 1980s, conductors, or "clippies", were a common feature of many local bus services in larger towns and cities in the UK and Ireland. Conductors were portrayed in the British TV series On The Buses
On The Buses
On the Buses was a British situation comedy created by Ronald Wolfe and Ronald Chesney which was broadcast in the UK from 1969 to 1973. The writers' previous successes with The Rag Trade and Meet the Wife were for the BBC, but the Corporation rejected On the Buses, not seeing much comedy potential...

.

The main reason why two-person crews were needed was that most towns and cities used double-deck
Double-decker bus
A double-decker bus is a bus that has two storeys or 'decks'. Global usage of this type of bus is more common in outer touring than in its intra-urban transportion role. Double-decker buses are also commonly found in certain parts of Europe, Asia, and former British colonies and protectorates...

 vehicles for their urban bus services and until the 1960s, all double deck vehicles were built with front-mounted engines and a "half-cab" design, like the familiar Routemaster
Routemaster
The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company in 1954 and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances...

 London bus. This layout totally separated the driver from the passenger saloons. The conductor would communicate with the driver using a series of bell codes, such as two bells to start (the well-known "ding-ding").

Many of the half-cab double-deckers were boarded from an open platform at the rear, while other buses were equipped with a forward entrance and staircase and automatic doors operated by the driver. In each case a conductor was needed to collect fares and, especially on the rear-entrance design, supervise passenger loading and unloading. In some places, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were experiments with later forward entrance half-cab double-deckers to remove the conductor and have the driver in charge of selling tickets as on the rear entrance buses that were common by that time, therefore giving the benefits of one person operation without the cost of replacing vehicles that still had some years life left in them. These were unsuccessful, though, since the driver was required to turn around to deal with passengers, usually through a small opening between the driver's and passenger compartments, and this idea was soon scrapped and the buses reverted to conventional conductor operation.

In the late 1950s, new designs of higher-capacity double-decker buses began to be introduced with the engine compartment at the rear of the vehicle and the entrance directly adjacent to the driver. From July 1966, UK transport regulations were changed to allow operation of urban double-deck buses by the driver only, who could now take responsibility for fare collection as well as supervise all passenger loading and unloading.


The new designs of rear-engined buses and so-called "one person operation" were adopted quickly by some municipal operators, more slowly by others. New half-cab buses continued to be ordered by the more conservative municipal operators through the 1960s, but manufacture of this type of vehicle for the UK market had ceased by about 1970. This was accelerated by a UK Government grant which supported the purchase of "one person operated" vehicles but was not available for purchase of traditional half-cab buses.

Through the 1970s, the proportion of urban bus routes operated with conductors declined, as older vehicles were steadily replaced with new buses equipped for one-person-operation, and operators grappled with staff shortages, rapidly increasing costs and falling ridership. By the early 1980s bus conductors were largely obsolete in all cities except London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and Dublin.

London was a special case, with two-person crews continuing to operate a number of bus routes in central London until late 2005, well beyond their demise in the rest of the country. This reprieve for conductors was due to continued use of the famous Routemaster bus.

The Routemaster had been purpose-built for London conditions and continued to be very well suited to the busiest routes in the most congested parts of central London. This was because of its maneuverability, fast passenger loading/unloading capability and fare collection by the conductor instead of the driver. The construction of the Routemaster vehicles was of high-quality, the design robust and the mechanical and body parts could be easily re-built and refurbished, which all greatly improved the vehicle's durability. Importantly, the "traditional red bus" is also a unique tourism icon for London, instantly recognisable around the world.

Although the majority of bus services in the London metropolis (and all routes outside the central area) have been operated by modern driver-only vehicles since the late 1980s, 20 regular routes retained Routemasters and conductors in 2003. Between 2003 and 2005, each of these has been progressively converted to modern vehicles and one-person-operation. The process was largely driven by political views on disability-accessibility, and assisted to some extent by the increase in litigious passengers claiming injuries due to the Routemaster's open rear platform. There were also increasingly frequent robberies and attacks on conductors, who could find themselves working in an isolated and vulnerable environment.

The last "regular" (as opposed to tourist-oriented) Routemaster-operated service was the 159 from Marble Arch
Marble Arch
Marble Arch is a white Carrara marble monument that now stands on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road, almost directly opposite Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park in London, England...

 to Streatham
Streatham
Streatham is a district in Surrey, England, located in the London Borough of Lambeth. It is situated south of Charing Cross. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.-History:...

. Conductor operation finally ceased on the 159 on 9 December 2005.

A revival in conductor operation on buses in the UK has occurred with the development of the ftr
Ftr
FTR is an example of bus rapid transit, currently in operation in Great Britain in York in North Yorkshire, Leeds in West Yorkshire, Luton in Bedfordshire and in Swansea in South Wales. FTR has been introduced by First Group, using Wright StreetCar articulated buses in conjunction with...

 routes in York
York
York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence...

, Leeds
Leeds
Leeds is a city and metropolitan borough in West Yorkshire, England. In 2001 Leeds' main urban subdivision had a population of 443,247, while the entire city has a population of 798,800 , making it the 30th-most populous city in the European Union.Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial...

 and Swansea
Swansea
Swansea is a coastal city and county in Wales. Swansea is in the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy South West Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands...

.

One company that still uses conductors is Stagecoach Strathtay on service 73(A) from Arbroath
Arbroath
Arbroath or Aberbrothock is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the council area of Angus in Scotland, and has a population of 22,785...

, Carnoustie
Carnoustie
Carnoustie is a town and former police burgh in the council area of Angus, Scotland. It is situated at the mouth of the Barry Burn on the North Sea coast...

 and Monifieth
Monifieth
Monifieth is a town and former police burgh in the council area of Angus, Scotland. It is situated on the North bank of the Firth of Tay on the East Coast...

 to Ninewells Hospital
Ninewells Hospital
Ninewells Hospital is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Europe, based on the western edge of Dundee, Scotland. It is internationally renowned for introducing laparoscopic surgery to the UK as well as being a leading centre in developing fields such as the management of cancer, medical...

. Another is Quantock Motor Services
Quantock Motor Services
Quantock Motor Services is a privately owned company based in Bishops Lydeard, Somerset, England. that operates a small number of bus services around Minehead and Taunton under contract to Somerset County Council, and one commercial route and rural tourist bus services around Exmoor. Much of its...

, Somerset, which operates the service 400 'Exmoor Explorer' using crew-operated vintage open top buses.

See also

  • Freight conductor
    Freight Conductor
    A freight conductor is a person who is employed by a railroad. The freight conductor is the lead employee assigned to a freight train, and is responsible for the smooth operation of the assignment.- Freight conductors specialties :...

  • Manual fare collection
    Manual fare collection
    Manual fare collection is the practice of collecting fares manually . "Fare collection" generally refers to the collection of fares in the transport industry in return for a ticket or passes to travel...

  • Railroad engineer
    Railroad engineer
    A railroad engineer, locomotive engineer, train operator, train driver or engine driver is a person who drives a train on a railroad...

  • Routemaster
    Routemaster
    The AEC Routemaster is a model of double-decker bus that was built by Associated Equipment Company in 1954 and produced until 1968. Primarily front-engined, rear open-platform buses, a small number of variants were produced with doors and/or front entrances...