What to do at a Bengaluru traffic jam

Travel in Bengaluru during peak hours takes 162% longer than during non-peak hours.

Bengaluru’s infamous traffic snarls have just received official certification! A recent report by cab aggregator Ola ranks Bengaluru third in the country with the slowest moving traffic, behind Patna and Kolkata. The report looked at 20 cities and surveyed 43,000 people. 

It noted that the average speed of Bengaluru traffic is 15.5 km per hour, and travel during peak hours takes 162% more time than the same distance travelled during non-peak hours.

Seems like we spend a lot of time on the road, aimlessly staring at the backs of other vehicles, willing them to move. Why not make the most of this time then? Metrolife lists a few ways in which you can spend your time in traffic productively.

Strike up a conversation

No one likes being stuck in traffic. Smile at your fellow passengers and if they don’t look like a serial criminal or psychopath, talk to them. Make some light remarks about the situation. Please don’t crib or start a rant — they have enough on their plate without you adding to it!

Show those moves

If you are in a car, turn up the volume of the music and dance in your seat. You erase your frustration and give people around you something to focus on and smile about.

Don’t worry about looking silly, you are not going to see these people after the red light clears!

Phone photography

Improve those camera skills. Pick up the phone and click pictures of interesting subjects (no pictures of women without their permission though). It will be a  new hobby and a way to get your eyes off the traffic signals.

Window shop

If you are lucky enough to be stuck in a traffic jam near shops, check out the latest styles displayed in the shop windows and plan what to buy with your next salary. 

Let inspiration strike

Think of an idea for a startup, plan where to go for the next weekend, make a checklist of things to do once you get home, figure out a new playlist, ruminate on the beginnings of the universe — the possibilities are endless.

If you are not driving...

If you are not driving and are in a cab, the options are more. Google for recipes to make once you get back, catch up on the news on Twitter, make a call to your family, do a Facebook live and tag Bengaluru Traffic Police, call up a radio station and tell them where the jam is (so they can help others) and so on.

On a serious note...

Hour-long traffic jams have become the new normal on the city roads. The government is opting for quick fixes without looking at sustainable measures that will reduce the number of vehicles on the city’s congested roads. 
Improved services of feeder buses at metro stations, ride-sharing alternatives or a dedicated public bicycle system could help improve the last-mile connectivity in the city. 

Strictly ensuring that lane discipline is followed by riders, busy roads are not dug up for whatever reason during the daytime, ensuring that footpaths are not encroached on so that pedestrians stay off the road, not allowing vehicles to park on the sides of narrow roads, ensuring that buses stop only at designated bus stops are some other measures that can be followed. People violating traffic rules should be penalised heavily. Smart traffic lights, that change real time according to the flow of traffic, should be used widely.

Constructing steel flyovers or banning cab sharing is not the answer to Bengaluru’s traffic woes. The unholy nexus between the administration and different mafias ensures that the city’s residents continue to stare at the red light while solutions are just around the corner.

What else does the report say?

More than 70% of the city’s residents did not find public transit comfortable or time-saving, and believe that last-mile connectivity needs to be improved in the city. As many as 60% of respondents said that they have to walk for more than 10 minutes and wait for a considerable time for buses while 65% cite the lack of parking facilities near public transit stops and stations. Around 51% of the respondents said they don’t use public transport as they feel it’s unsafe and inconvenient while about 24% said they don’t find it readily accessible. Though metro travel is cheap, the cost of travelling to and from metro stations can be high, forcing many people to not opt for it. The report adds that the population increase in Bengaluru in the last 10 years is the second highest in the country, only behind Hyderabad.

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What to do at a Bengaluru traffic jam

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