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Rider's Almanac Blog

Know Your Operator

Know Your Operator: Phil Wostrel, Blue Line

| Thursday, June 9, 2022 12:46:00 PM

Relief Instructor and Train Operator Phil Wostrel had to leave Metro Transit to discover what he really liked about it.

First hired in the mid-1990s as a part-time bus operator, Wostrel left after four years to work full time in shipping and receiving for a local printer. When their healthcare benefits became unaffordable, he came back.

Wostrel rejoined Metro Transit as a part-time bus operator six years ago, with a goal of quickly transferring to light rail. Today, he is among eight relief instructors who both train operators and operate in-service vehicles.

"It’s a good paying job if you stick around," Wostrel said. "You get great benefits, and you get a pension when you retire."

More than that, he enjoys helping his peers, spotting wild turkeys and hawks as he navigates past Fort Snelling, and serving the community. "If I get a grandmother or a little boy or girl to their destination, it’s worth it to me helping get that one person where they wanted to go,’’ Wostrel said.

To be a successful train operator, Wostrel said, you need to be equal parts patient and diligent. "Some people say you just sit in a cab and make the train go forward. You need to have the right personality and follow the rules. Once you learn them, they’re easy to follow,’’ he said.

We're hiring! Bus operators are currently the only individuals who can apply to become a train operator. Learn more about starting your career as a full- or part-time bus operator at

Learn more about what it's like to be a train operator