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73° Good Afternoon
OpinionColumnistsMike Vogel

That’s the ticket? Tough task in traffic trenches

Yellow school bus on 8th Avenue in New

Yellow school bus on 8th Avenue in New York City. Photo Credit: iStock

Think your job is lousy? Believe me, it could be worse.

Take it from Sokunbi Olufemi of the Communication Workers of America Local 1182, which represents NYC traffic agents. “Our members . . . get assaulted almost every single day,” Olufemi told of the agents, who average about $30,000 a year.

Last week, two traffic agents were allegedly pelted with eggs by a finance worker when they ticketed his Lexus parked on a Williamsburg street. He then challenged the agents to a fistfight, but ran off and hid in a nearby building when they called the cops. Mr. Lexus came running back out in a panic when a tow truck arrived. Fun job, huh?

Or you could be a NYC cabdriver. Talk about high stress. Try maneuvering around potholed streets and dealing with drunken passengers who take off without paying the fare — or puke in your backseat.

The NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission last month voted to limit the number of hours a driver can work to 12 a day, or 72 hours a week. “We don’t have a long day every day,” taxi driver Nino Hervias protested to The New York Times, although he admitted to recently starting work at 6 a.m. and driving straight through to 11 p.m.

One job you probably wouldn’t want is being a NYC sanitation worker — especially when dodging vermin and handling garbage in 90-degree heat. But don’t answer too quickly. While the starting salary is a modest $33,746 a year, it jumps to $69,339 after only 5½ years.

Those in private sanitation are really hauling it in, with some earning wages in six figures — and up. Earlier this year, Noel Molina, who works for Crown Container, told CNN Money he earned $112,000 in 2015.

Molina dropped out of school in the 10th grade. Co-worker Tony Sankar also dropped out of school, and he says people who attend college might not earn the kind of money he makes “on the back of a garbage truck.”

Meanwhile, cabbies continue to drive to exhaustion trying to eke out a living, while traffic agents continue to be regularly abused. “I’ve seen my workers with blood all over,” Olufemi told “It’s crazy. We need more protection.” Maybe your job isn’t so bad after all.

Playwright Mike Vogel blogs at


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