Natasha Dimelow, 36, Traffic control centre operator
What kind of road do you have to go down to become a traffic person?
‘I used to drive buses up north. When I came down here, I got a job driving prison wagons, which gave me knowledge of how London’s roads work. Then I applied for this position with Transport for London.’
What do you actually do all day?
‘I work as part of a team that monitors the road network. There’s a big video wall, but we’re not stuck in a cave – we’ve got natural light! Ifthere’sanaccidentonaroad,it’s our job to get that information out to the media and on to the TfL website, and send traffic tweets. We also monitor the incidents on CCTV and change traffic-light patterns to ease congestion. We make sure London keeps on moving.’
Just like 5ive. What’s the worst thing about your job?
‘It’s when we get reports of really bad accidents involving ‘fatals’. We have access to 3,000 traffic cameras, so when we dive into a CCTV camera we see the aftermath of what has just happened. You don’t know what you’re going to see when you dial in, so you get some horrible images.’
‘But on the other side, you see some funny things as well. One night shift we saw this drunk guy who had fallen into a hole in the road. He was just waving his arms around, and the police had to come and get him out, it was just really funny. We also get to see lots of films getting made, like James Bond on Whitehall and “Doctor Who” in Trafalgar Square.’
It must be a satisfying job.
‘There’s nothing worse than being stuck in traffic and not knowing why, and I love being able to help people get home. I’ve been doing the job nearly nine years now, and I’ve got to know London really well. I can’t imagine myself doing anything other than traffic, really.’
Hours 35hrs p/w
Starting salary £30,600 p/a
Qualifications Knowledge of London geography and road traffic patterns
Or why not become a shoe maker instead?
Interview by Eddy Frankel