Karachites, we don’t have the worst traffic jams any more

I’ve been travelling in Islamabad, Pindi and Lahore the last couple of days and have to come to the conclusion that Karachites don’t always have the worst traffic anymore. The next time you’re zooming along SF, rumbling down IIC or crawling around the erstwhile Schon Circle, spare a thought for our northernly neighbours. Sometimes other people do have it worse.

5 Comments so far

  1. Asad ur Rehman (unregistered) on September 9th, 2006 @ 11:44 pm

    I assure you that the traffic jams in lahore atleast, are not due to excessive traffic or bad roads, but simply because of incompetent drivers. I have mentioned in my blog – several times – how the best of lahorie drivers are confounded when confronted with a round-about. The concept is lost to them, so they do the only thing they can do with reasonable confidence.. brake. You end up with traffic backed for several hundred yards (in neat lanes, yet). Plus the traffic signals have completely wrong timing (i never realised how much it could affect traffic patterns unless i saw the difference between khi signal times and lhr signal times), which means if you’re unfortunate enough to get stuck at red light on, say, Main Boulevard, you can sit back and relax for 3-4 minutes (i kid you not) before you’ll get a green light again. Added to that is the inherently lethargic population, which could maybe clear out 4-5 rows in a 15-second window (in karachi i’ve seen 10-11 rows move out in a 15-second window) and you have the recipe for massive traffic jams. Conversley, they have an uncanny affliction for speeding on bridges, which allows them to end up with flipped over cars and serious accidents on bridges every WEEK.


  2. mansoor (unregistered) on September 10th, 2006 @ 12:32 pm

    i agree with asad! Lahore’s traffic jams are MUCH worse! atleast in khi.. you keep inching forward… i was once stuck in a lahore traffic jam for 3 hours and we just stood at one place for over 2 hours :S


  3. Abbas Halai (unregistered) on September 10th, 2006 @ 7:16 pm

    Let me explain something here for the misunderstood Asad ur Rehman. A “round about” or a rotary is something which us Karachiites have all wrong.

    The correct way of using a roundabout is to sit and wait at the entrance of a roundabout and wait there until all circulating traffic has cleared. You can only enter when you yield completely. Karachiites don’t understand this concept.

    Basically, entering vehicles yield, the rotating cars have priority over all other cars, no parking is allowed. Unfortunately, because people cannot follow these simple rules, the circulating car that has right-of-way never gets to move forward with any form of success, at every quadrant of a roundabout people end up braking and inching forward rather than gunning through and which is also why since noone can follow these rules, 90% of the roundabouts in Karachi have been removed and replaced with traffic lights.

    It’s a shame because rotary’s if used properly are quite an interesting method of solving flow theory.


  4. Asad ur Rehman (unregistered) on September 10th, 2006 @ 7:42 pm

    agreed abbas.

    but the interesting thing about lahorie traffic is how they can cause so much utter confusion even while following traffic laws. in karachi, you’ll see that most of trivial traffic laws that are broken are in the interests of the traffic as whole.

    when cars are backed bumper to bumper for miles, and you finally get a green light, it is CRIMINAL for a car to slow down and stop at the first hint of the traffic signal turning to yellow.

    similarily, some might argue left-side overtakes are dangerous, but i think braking behind a car in the fast lane, flashing your lights and honking, and waiting for him to move out of the way is not the most time-efficient solutions to the problem. you have a couple of million pissed off people on the road in a hurry to get somewhere, the niceties need to be overlooked sometimes, but it comes down to knowing what you can get away with safetly.

    however, conversely, the only solution to solving round-about madness is to follow the rules you’ve mentioned, which are more or less a convention that if everyone follows will work, even if it isn’t the only solution common sense offers. but then common sense ain’t that common, is it?


  5. Adnan (unregistered) on September 10th, 2006 @ 10:25 pm

    I never knew that a round about would be so “technical”.



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