We Are Tram Drivers - Jobs aplenty down the track
Emily Toxward | February 28, 2018
Within seconds of stepping on the G:Link tram during its inaugural journey three years ago, vivacious Gold Coaster Karen Young knew she had just found her dream job; a tram driver.
“I had to stand behind the driver’s cab, because it was so busy, and I watched everything from behind the driver’s head; it looked really interesting. Then I could see people at the platform and kids waving and I thought I really need to be a part of this,” she says.
That afternoon she jumped online, searched for application details and within weeks Karen had passed the tests and was living the life she’s always wanted, and loving every single second of it.
“I don’t live to work, I work to live, and my job as a Gold Coast tram driver is amazing. I just love driving up and down through the Gold Coast every day, especially in the summer when people are out and about and happy.”
“Every day I feel like I’m on holiday and I just love seeing people wondering around the city with their towels and surfboards with big smiles on their faces.”
Her infectious enthusiasm is contagious, and Karen fondly recalls how during one of her shifts more than 100 university students, all dressed up as Where’s Wally as part of end-of-year celebrations, boarded the tram.
“I couldn’t help myself and had to make an announcement over the intercom asking: ‘where’s Wally?’ and to my delight they all leaped out of their seats and had a laugh,” she says.
“I love interacting with my passengers, sure we don’t have to say anything on our journey but I can’t help myself. I’ve got regulars and we mouth ‘have a lovely day’ to each other or wave as they board or leave.”
Karen says she especially loves being a tram driver when there are special events on, such as the GC600 or the Gold Coast Marathon. So it’s no surprise she’s super excited about the city hosting the Commonwealth Games in April, when trams will run to a 24-hour timetable and leave every 6 minutes during event periods.
“When people are on their way to events they are so happy and excited and can’t but help laugh and joke; I just love being a part of that. When its Halloween I dress up, during State Of Origin I don a wig, and during Christmas I always wear reindeer ears,” she says.
The mother of two has also had 15 minutes of fame on board the G. In 2015 she made national news when she cheekily photobombed a selfie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took during the announcement that the Federal Government would contribute $95 million to the second stage of the light rail.
“When the Prime Minister came to town, before Helensvale Station was open, they put a tram in the tunnel as part of the photo opportunity. I was that driver in the background photobombing the Prime Minister’s selfie; he even tweeted about it afterwards,” she says.
“I often tell my girlfriends that if they get bored of their job, then they absolutely must become a tram driver because it’s one of the best vocations ever.”
And if the public continues to embrace the light rail network as it has done recently, with a 27 percent increase in usage since the launch of stage two in December last year, there’ll definitely be plenty of job opportunities arising.
A spokesperson for G:Link’s says across the network there are more than 150 people employed, including about 90 drivers on the books and around 30 customer service officers.
“Down the track there will always be more jobs available, and plenty of ways for people to get on board, especially as the Gold Coast is embracing stage two of the light rail.”