Passenger transport operations are particularly complex. Whether we’re talking about air, road, rail or sea travel, all transport services which involve moving people from A to B are rife with problems and prone to frequent complications.
These glitches can prompt a flood of customer complaints, or worse still, they can cause health and safety issues. Consequently, passenger transport services need to be planned and managed effectively. Enter passenger transport managers!
As you might expect, passenger transport managers are in charge of managing passenger transport systems, covering both public and private transport. These guys usually specialise in a particular area of the transport sector and their managerial responsibilities cover passenger services, ticketing, seating reservations and the safety and security of passengers.
Transport managers supervise and train customer service teams and complaint-handling personnel. Furthermore, they are responsible for controlling budgets, liaising with stakeholders and collaborating with finance, planning and marketing professionals to discuss the strategic direction of particular passenger transport operations.
Indeed, those who are in more senior roles play an integral role in policymaking, with regards to passenger safety, pricing, operational procedures, security and timetables.
Passenger transport managers are employed by all kinds of organisations, including private transport providers, such as airlines, rail companies and shipping lines, as well as public sector departments and transport authorities.
Salary & benefits
Annual salaries for passenger transport managers in the early stages of their careers range between £16,000 and £24,000, while mid-level managers can earn between £25,000 and £40,000 per annum.
Senior passenger transport managers with a wealth of experience can earn up to £50,000 and beyond.
Working hours in public sector organisations are around 35 to 37 hours per week, while private sector employees typically put in 40 to 45 hours per week.
Work is divided between office and depot sites, with junior managers working primarily in the latter environment.
A good undergraduate degree in any discipline is acceptable for entry into this profession. However, an academic background in transport planning, transport management, logistics, business management, marketing or geography may give you an edge over other candidates.
It’s also advisable for candidates to gain prior work experience through short-term placements and internships before applying for entry-level positions.
Training & progression
Graduate training programmes are offered by rail, tube and metro companies and major airports based around the UK. These schemes are run over a period of one or two years, with the main focus being placed on practical experience and skills development.
Training is mainly ‘on-the-job’, with structured placements allowing trainees the opportunity to work across different functions.
Many employers also encourage trainee passenger transport managers to complete professional qualifications offered by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) or the Institute of Transport Administration (IoTA).
Career progression depends on experience, professional qualifications and performance, with most public and private sector employers providing passenger transport managers with a clear career path into more senior positions, where you may end up being responsible for large departments or transport operations across entire regions.