Well as you know i've just returned from a trip to Delhi. Sigh...
One of the great things about going to Delhi is that I get to drive on the huge, wide roads for a change. So there I was, driving along ring road (New Delhi is built in the shape of a circle where two main roads called outer and inner ring roads respectively act as the main rivers into which the smaller roads flow in as tributaries)in the evening. (Would you be interested in knowing what all I did on my trip? hmmm lets see, if this traffic jam post doesn't turn out to be too long, I'll probably enumerate what all I did there).
Anyway, so I got stuck in a traffic jam near Moti Bagh enroute to Dhaula Kuan and further down to my home. Nudging the car slowly in the 4 lanes full of a medley of cars, autorickshaws, bikes, trucks and buses a sudden revelation flashed in my mind about the difference between traffic snarl ups in different cities.
Now i've been to a number of cities, but haven't really stayed too long, or driven too much in any city except Delhi and Bangalore, but jams have distinctive characteristics even in these cities. Maybe you could tell me about the characteristics of traffic jams in your city after you read this post.
Delhi Traffic jams:
1. Traffic doesn't really come to a standstill for a long time. Cars keep nudging forward.
2. One thing i've noticed is that nowadays many vehicles are sticking to their lanes in Delhi, even in traffic jams. Now earlier when the infrastructure there was still being built traffic jams had snarly characteristics with cars fighting and jostling and angling every which way just to gain a few yards. It was a race, and a winner-takes-all kind of race in which no quarters were given.
3. Jams are not made by human craziness, generally that is (making any sweeping statement about traffic in any part of India is just plain stupid). They are usually an effect of sheer number of vehicles stuck at red lights.
Bangalore Traffic jams:
1. Traffic comes to a dead halt for a long time. So long that you end up fidgeting in your seat with sheer exasperation. ok, by traffic I mean cars - the bikes, mopeds, people, cows create a canvas of flux in which sane car drivers try to adhere to lanes etc here.
2. Vehicles DO NOT adhere to lanes, much less in traffic jams. I'm sure an aerial shot of a Bangalore jam would make a very interesting picture as most vehicles would be at angles to each other and to the lanes. Little corners of cars, helmet locks and leg guards from bikes, angled handles of cycles and of course the suddenly spurting movements of people trying to cross the roads come together to form a deadly nexus in which everyday that you come home without scratching your car should be deemed a miracle of nature.
3. Jams ARE caused my human insanity. Some places, yes, the roads are narrow, too much traffic, but at others? Sheer stupidity. Some of the weirdest red lights i've seen in my life. I don't know who's designed the traffic systems here but s/he must be cross-eyed, myopic, drugged,psychologically challenged and just a plain sadistic. And the people just make the job easier for this psycho. Absolutley no traffic sense. Lanes have been drawn, cos i guess the roads would look too drab without them, for all the purpose they serve. Everyone makes strange lane-cutting turns, awkward and sudden U-turns. The sheer selfishness in driving here, the fights over yards of road, make Delhi traffic seem like heaven. And thats saying a lot, cos heaven knows that traffic is pretty bad in Delhi as well...
Anyway thats my take, and as I've managed to stretch even this small post to such lengths, I'll tell you about my Delhi vacation in the next post.