Thursday, April 3, 2008

In a Jam

After work I played tennis for two hours with some of my colleagues.

And I managed to catch the bus home at 8:20pm. Since rush hour was over, I mentally calculated I should be home in 20 minutes, fix a quick dinner and have a shower.

But just as the bus was getting off the fourth ring road and onto Jing Shun Road, cars were already backed up on the overpass and we joined at the back.

I looked at my watch and it was 8:30. The snaking line of lights was only inching forward. If I wasn't two stops away I would have gotten off and walked like some other passengers; also I'd just played tennis for two hours and was already tired.

A few passengers called up their friends to say they were running late, or asked if they were stuck in the same predicament. Others like myself tried to sit there patiently and watch the TV screens in the bus to entertain us.

I thought perhaps there was an accident ahead causing the massive jam and wondered how bad it was.

Another 15 minutes later we were ahead, but not by much. Many other buses, some three or four were the same number routes all herded together like cows. Inside, buses were either half empty like ours, or packed to the gills.

We finally made it onto Jing Shun Road and buses jockeyed into position to let passengers off and on. But I never saw an accident -- it was just a massive traffic jam.

The bus didn't go its usual route and instead turned left an intersection earlier to avoid further delays.

And when I finally got off, it was 9:10pm.

Jing Shun Road is a major thoroughfare with three lanes of traffic. I've experienced exceptionally heavy jams like this three times. I don't understand how they happen and how they eventually resolve themselves.

As most of the vehicles were buses that were jammed together, one has to wonder how things are going to improve once the Olympics come in August. Since half the private cars will be taken off the roads, leaving more to take public transport or taxis, and a dedicated Olympic lane for athletes, VIPs and media, isn't it possible we'll still have jams like this come the Games?

1 comment:

Kai Sun said...

there is no rhythm or reason for traffic jams . it happens everywhere in the world. on a recent visit to jerusalem we were stunned by the horrific driving conditions in a small place jammed with tons of big tourist buses. and we are choked by the fumes of these buses while idling. london may have a good way out - tax to the max. impose a heavy penalty for driving into the downtown core.