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Old 8th February 2012, 11:20   #46
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

@samarjitdhar,
Nicely put! Hilarious as well. :-)
I was so hopeful to see some changes in the traffic situation in Sector 5, in the near future. But alas, it was scraped as a whole. Unbelievable! So much spark, so much of enthusiasm and zero for the implementation and planning. About the bus bays at Rajarhat, you are dead-right. No one uses them! Lying empty, begged to be used! Damn. :-(

When O When?
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Old 8th February 2012, 11:47   #47
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Thats exactly what I was trying to tell you. I wanted to reply your last comments on new changes which will happen, etc but refrained myself .
I missed highlighting one important aspect of this "one-way" plan. The day it started there was such chaos that even the Waste Bengal P(F)oolish was flabbergasted as to what to do every minute. Heated arguments broke out between even the Waste Bengal P(F)oolish force members as to which way they should be directing traffic. The only directions they were not frantically waving their hands were towards the sky or into the ground .

So bad was the atmosphere at one major crossing where actually the one way road suddenly became a two way road, the members of the Waste Bengal P(F)oolish force were cursing at each other in breaks between cursing the road users and almost coming to fisticuffs among themselves. Thankfully from today, for the sake of better managing blood pressure than traffic, the cops have scrapped the one way plan and traffic is back to any which way

Last edited by samarjitdhar : 8th February 2012 at 11:51.
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Old 8th February 2012, 13:08   #48
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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Kanpur and Varanasi has got the worst traffic, I believe.

How is the road condition between Sitapur and Haldwani? I am planning for a Kolkata-Nainital drive and waiting eagerly for your travelougue.
@black_panther - Road from Sitapur to Bareilly is single lane and the road surface is mostly good except a few patches here and there. From Bareilly we took the SH37 as per the directions from bhpians XetaGLGRocks and HV Kumar sir. It was difficult to find the SH37 as most of the road direction boards were pointing to either NH74 or NH24 for Haldwani. An auto driver helped us a lot. SH37 is decent enough with a few patchworks. Let me know if you need further details.
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Old 8th February 2012, 15:46   #49
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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So the much...Now a new metro line is about to be laid which I am sure will not see the light of day before year 2050. ...ranting now.
Hey Samarjitdhar, how about we meeting up with families and I can get my 7-year old son and click a snap in front of the metros. By the time we are dead and gone, he can show it to his children "my dad was around when the work started here. Alas, even we have not seen the work getting completed."

Pun apart, I think the one way stunt the authorities tried is actually much needed. The 'beautification' going around in other parts of the city is, however, just wasting money to show you have utilized the budget.
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Old 6th June 2012, 21:22   #50
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

Any comments about the post-war like situation all over Sector five roads! Each and every arterial and main roads are dug up due to sewerage revamp. This whole project could have been handled in a better fashion.

What are your views on this?
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Old 16th July 2014, 01:34   #51
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I came back to Kolkata after 9 years looking forward to the joy of a nice long drive of about 12 km one-way to my new job in Salt Lake and with a peace of mind that I would not have to deal with the congestion of Bangalore, the dangerous driving in Delhi and the lack of road options in Mumbai. After four weeks of driving, I'm simply appalled at the traffic situation and after a tiring day having witnessed a series of minor accidents and just barely having avoided two myself (by sheer providence) thought I'd start a thread along the lines of the one on the traffic situation in Bangalore. Maybe it will give a chance for members in Kolkata to warn each other of some of the hazardous spots.

Anyway, onto the horror zone called the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass. The unending work on the "new" metro project has blocked off vast swathes of road all along the 10 km stretch from Silver Springs to Ajaynagar. The block-offs are non-uniform and every 200 metres the road shrinks and expands from 3 to 5/6 lanes alternately, with some dangerous converging traffic. This is particularly bad in the Science City-Ruby stretch. At places the asbestos sheeting is loosely fixed to the stakes and sways a foot to and fro in high winds.

The quality of the EM bypass (or what's left of it) for the 2 km immediately while approaching Ruby Hospital from the north is terrible. It is cratered uniformly (not potholes but depressions and humps) and even at a crawl using a new car and good suspension a tremendous amount of turbulence. Travellers with back problems or retina issues should totally avoid this stretch and go through the city instead.

There's absolutely NIL lane discipline -- the concept does not exist. I am so frustrated at having to watch out every moment for some fool to make a 'smart' lane change both out of and into my lane. Plus nobody bothers to use indicators. Today I saw a Blue Swift lose its front bumper near Ruby Hospital to an ambassador that cut across 3 lanes with not the slightest concern. There was no place to stop else I would have stopped to help the poor owner. It's either that or lane blocking where one vehicle will block two lanes. It's so bad that at the Science city roundabout, the traffic heading right occupies 7/8 our of 8/9 lanes available !! To go straight without getting stuck or changing lanes and risking a scratch (or worse) I have to take the lefthandmost lane and go side-by-side with 2-wheelers and watch out for pedestrians on the left -- from 1.5 km ahead !!

The two major intersections (i.e. Ruby Hospital roundabout and Science City roundabout) are in a state of utter chaos from about 6 pm to 8-30 pm. I have been traveling at different times and find these the worst. At each of these roundabouts there are cars, buses, tempos, and MCVs headed in every possible direction and after dark there's a good chance of getting a bump or dent.

At a couple of places the traffic police, in a moment of enlightenment have decided to "divert" some vehicles to an apology of a service road in an attmept to reduce congestion. The 'diversion' is through an 30 metre stretch of heavy mud deformed into small mountains by the action of trucks being parked in the rain and I have no doubt that it will hit the underside / clog the wheel cavity. These service roads have no other exit except at the roundabout which creates a catastrophic zone where cars wanting to turn right from the service road must cross the left-lane vehicles moving along the main road (and who will be going straight). Again today I witnessed a Tata Sumo collide into the rear-right bit of the bumper of a Honda City causing that bit to pop out.

This happy experience is increased by vast pools of still water that persist for hours after a spell of rain, an abundance of non-owner driven vehicles who seem to give a fig for careful driving, pedestrians who wait on the centre of roads for public transport and buses (public, private, school) that enjoy staging races with one another. I am now terrified of starting for home after 5-30 pm or before 9 pm.
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Old 16th July 2014, 10:55   #52
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Default Re: Rants on Kolkata Traffic

I can relate to your frustrations. I thought Hyderabad's traffic was a nightmare until I arrived in Kolkata (for 2 days), experienced the "traffic" (it's a parking lot!) and couldn't wait to go back to Hyderabad.

In Hyderabad, everyone wants to go "fast" and keep moving, so we have rash drivers.
In Kolkata, it seems no one wants to go anywhere, and they'll just simply crawl and fill up the road for no apparent reason. And, the Ambis, unlike our Autos, completely block narrow lanes (they're huge). One day it took us 1.5 hours to cover a 2km stretch (as seen on smartphone) somewhere around Science City in an Ambi. We were fed up.

And boy their parking! Cars are parked literally bumper-bumper (touching each other) on the streets.
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Old 24th July 2014, 21:46   #53
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

Another example of traffic control by the cops most of whom I'm betting have no idea what it feels like to drive without a 4x4 vehicle that screams 'Police'.

This is the bit ahead of the AnwarShah Road - Gariahat Road crossing where the AnwarShah road - EM Bypass connector starts - that I usually use daily. Like most other roads there are 'share-autos' that ply a 3.5 km stretch from the bypass to this cross terminating at this crossing. Now it's obviously a traffic headache to manage autos queuing up at the crossing so what does the police do .... they 'reserve' a big lane on one side of the road to be used as an autostand / bay. The result is that autos coming to the end of their run (in the same direction as I am facing in this photo) will dart across to the wrong side of the road and coast for a bit till they reach their reserved space. Once loaded they will suddenly u-turn into the oncoming traffic with no warning.

Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?-dsc00332.jpg

Imagine vehicles coming in the opposite direction ... they have to deal with these autos moving around both across the road towards their side and moving in their direction thereafter and suddenly appearing out of the left while starting their haul!

And to think the Jadavpur police station is opposite the signal 50 metres ahead!
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Old 24th July 2014, 23:31   #54
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

I learnt to drive in Kolkata, and I've spent plenty of years driving there. And once or twice a year, I manage to log about 1000 km in 2 weeks driving around the city. In addition, I do drive a reasonable mileage in Delhi as well as other cities (plus lots of highways). That I suppose makes me qualified to pass an opinion on whether Kolkata has the worst traffic in India (or Indian metros).

My opinion? Well, I respond with a big NO to the question this thread poses.

Some 25 years ago, Kolkata easily had some of the worst traffic among all metros, and perhaps among all cities. This was well before the 'car boom' happened across the country. And where do you get to see the boom at its worst, but in Delhi, where the total number of vehicles on the roads outnumbers all the other metros combined!

I am happy to note that enforcement of traffic rules by KP Traffic is far stricter today than 20-odd years ago. I am amazed to watch cars pull up well within the stop line at crossings. I also feel a twinge of joy when traffic cops force buses to stop at designated bus stops (well, not every time, but a lot more frequently than they used to).

Sure, it still takes 2 hours to drive from the Exide crossing to Teghoria at 11 in the morning on a normal (rainy) June weekday. But the 3-wheeler autos keep to the left more commonly than they used to, and high-speed minibuses racing each other is a lot less common. Sure, taxis do break down just as frequently as they used to (and their pitiable condition makes you wish never to ride in one), but there are air-conditioned buses to take you across the city in comfort and in reasonable time too. The Metro has decongested large parts of the roads along which it runs, though finding a spot to park is still a pain.

The high taxes on car ownership have perhaps meant that a lot of folks have postponed/shelved their plans of owning one, so the number of vehicles has not bloomed out of control. Of course, I would rate Kolkata's public transport system to be the easiest and cheapest in any city around the country, so that helps to keep many cars off the roads too.

The EM Bypass has degenerated into any other traffic-filled road during peak hours, but it has also taken away a lot of the load from other roads. Moving the seat of government elsewhere has also meant a Dalhousie & Esplanade that is a lot more traffic-free.

Of course, the pedestrian population is immense, and a severely frustrating and taxing experience for any driver. It would have been a lot better if someone in WB mandated that no vehicles shall carry or use horns exceeding 80dB - but that isn't about to happen I suppose, and is the only major grouse I have against Kolkata's traffic.

Enjoy the cacophony...
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Old 28th July 2014, 20:47   #55
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

Calcutta is indeed a very "horny" city, as illustrated by 'SS-Traveller' ! Long ago (in the days of lax traffic management and petrol Amby taxis) all transport(commercial) vehicles such as buses and taxis were not allowed to fit electric horns, if he remembers? it is as if some wise transport minister knew what the repercussions would be ! So we had huge buses ponk-ponking with a manual ball-horn of the type used by cycle rickshaws !

Somewhere along the line, probably with the coming of the diesel Ambys, this stricture was withdrawn, and now we have taxi-operators who believe that they must blow the horn as long as the ignition is on ! In the beginning it was much worse with the buses, with shrill, piercing air-horns which were banned except on the highways but used by everyone in the city nevertheless. But repeated drives to seize air-horns and fine those in possession have got rid of that menace.

But private car drivers have joined the honky-brigade in large numbers, even in SILENT ZONES . I wont be surprised if they teach in driving schools that you must keep honking or the engine will stall, just as they teach that on a dual carriageway you can keep to any lane you like, and it is okay to overtake from the left, or that on a motorcycle your right foot must be on the brake !

Though seriously, you cannot do away with constant trumpeting in Calcutta, with all pedestrians on the road (the footpaths having been converted into shopping plazas/ party offices/vagrants' homes etc,) and lane discipline totally absent or impossible. So everybody has to constantly keep telling everybody else ..."Watch out ! I am coming" !
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Old 28th July 2014, 20:56   #56
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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Though seriously, you cannot do away with constant trumpeting in Calcutta, with all pedestrians on the road (the footpaths having been converted into shopping plazas/ party offices/vagrants' homes etc,) and lane discipline totally absent or impossible. So everybody has to constantly keep telling everybody else ..."Watch out ! I am coming" !
Absolutely not ! In Kolkata not using the horn repeatedly is a guarantee of a very dangerous collision with a pedestrian / cyclist / auto. People walking on the same side as traffic expect as a matter of right to be horned at. Vehicles and buses attempting dangerous lane-changes also presume that all is ok unless they get honked severely. Folks crossing the road will merrily presume you will stop (even at 50-60 kmph) unless you honk a few times. When I learnt driving everyone from my driving school instructors, friends and parents warned me to honk at every turn all the time without fail and also to honk when behind pedestrians to alert them to your presence.

I do feel bad about honking in crowded roads near hospitals but if I don't there'll be one (likely two) more patients. Whatever the cause this seems to have become a part of the DNA here (very different from Delhi and Mumbai).
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Old 28th July 2014, 21:14   #57
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

I think traffic in Kolkata has gone from Bad to Worse since the last 20 years at least. Time was when traffic was made up of buses, cabbies, rickshaw pullers and the odd private vehicle. Then too the traffic was bad - with absolutely zero lane discipline, but at least the ones who did drive their own cars had reasonable sense to maintain lane discipline - the very basic rule of driving.
I did not have the opportunity to drive in Kolkata then - but atleast I was an observant kid.

Fast forward to today. I have the unfortunate distinction of having driven all my relative's and my own car in both North and South Kolkata.
Like any other metro economic development has meant that many people have graduated their primary mode of personal transport manifold (i.e. from the humble bicycle or even the scooter direct to the 4 wheeler).

And whereas, one would have expected that this is an opportunity for the noveau rich to assimilate road sense - far from it. They are like the animalistic hordes that you can see in pretty much every city in India.

Does it have the worst traffic amongst all the cities? Define worst! In my view all traffic in all Metros is the same. For that matter in Tier 2 cities as well. It's probably the Tier 3 towns - where probably the bug called "selfishness" has not yet become an epidemic - or has it?
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Old 29th July 2014, 20:12   #58
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Not withstanding 'samrjitdhar's Waste Bengal Foolish and 'hellmet's observations, some things like Stop Line discipline have improved due to stricter enforcement, as observed by someone else. People are not that scared of spot fines, but of their documents being taken away and a receipt/challan issued. Then begins the expedition to banks/traffic counters to pay the fine, and hanging around the concerned traffic guards and engaging touts to get your documents back, often soiled or disfigured !

When I started visiting Calcutta in the 1970s, I thought that after ten or so years nothing will move on the streets, as in 'hellmet's observation ! Since then traffic HAS multiplied, the autorickshaws have taken over certain stretches and are considered above the law, the famous 6% road space (Delhi has 20%+)has shrunk to 4% due to encroachments, once friendly taxi drivers have become rude and hostile, but Kolkata Police somehow keep traffic moving -- one-ways and no-parkings and what not. But it takes approx. 20 minutes for every five kms in the city proper, five minutes of actual driving and fifteen of waiting at signals, if there are no rallys or protest marches out !
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Old 29th July 2014, 20:46   #59
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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...Stop Line discipline have improved due to stricter enforcement...
Seems KP Traffic is using automated traffic cameras to photograph stop line violators and mail them a 'challan' with the photograph included - all this for a fine of Rs.100! My hats off to them!

OTOH, KPT constables' and motorcycle-borne sergeants' promotions and incentives depend on the number of 'cases' they gather over any given period. So they do try very hard to trap motorists into breaking traffic rules - which is something to be very wary of while driving in Kolkata.
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Old 29th July 2014, 21:13   #60
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Seems KP Traffic is using automated traffic cameras to photograph stop line violators and mail them a 'challan' with the photograph included - all this for a fine of Rs.100! My hats off to them!

OTOH, KPT constables' and motorcycle-borne sergeants' promotions and incentives depend on the number of 'cases' they gather over any given period. So they do try very hard to trap motorists into breaking traffic rules - which is something to be very wary of while driving in Kolkata.
You are right on both counts, Sir ! Makes it very dangerous to drive in Cal now, if the traffic sergeant has not met his quota yet !

Similarly with emission norms: mobile vans stand on the roadside (generally empty stretches on the Maidan, EM Bypass, and Kona Expressway), measuring tailpipe emission as well as photographing passing cars. You get a letter with photo attached, have to get it attested by Asst. Director-Tech at PVD, and get your vehicle tested at their recommended testing station, or pay a fine ranging from 700/- to 1400/-

I quarrelled with the Asst. Director(T) that a moving car, under varying loads and speeds, cannot have the 'standing at idle' emissions we get during tests. While half-agreeing, he told me to go to the High Court and get an order to that effect, and he would stop the farce ! I have appealed to many other sufferers to launch a joint petition, but most people believe in paying up quietly, and the PVD is happily making money.

The testing at recommended test centres is another farce ! I had taken my 1000cc MG 410W, which had provoked such a notice, to one such centre. They told me to start the engine and immediately gave me an OKAY test report ! Amazed, I asked them how that could be, when next to me another man was having his BS4 Swift Dzire's oil temperature also checked, among maybe ten parameters, the "tester" replied, "Govt. gaddi ko kya check karna "!
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