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Old 30th July 2014, 11:30   #61
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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...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.
That's a new one! How is the tailpipe emission measured? Remotely, or do they ask the motorist to pull over? What is the equipment used? Any photographs from anyone? Would appreciate some more detail about the process.
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Old 30th July 2014, 14:10   #62
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Sorry, all my posts are without photos, but I am driving 99% of the time, and have not mastered the art of quick shots on a cellphone with one hand while moving. So I will try to convey in a thousand words instead of one photo !

Earlier they had a Maruti Omni with equipment, going around the less frequented stretches of the maidan area and stopping diesel commercial vehicles. After inserting the probe in the tailpipe, they would say, "race badao, aur badao", and in a cloud of black smoke, the poor target would be challaned !

Now they have Tempo(Force) Travellers, standing blocking one lane of the wider roads with low traffic. Any remaining space is blocked with traffic cones so that only one lane is left for cars to pass one by one, with a camera aimed at the front and a sensor at the back. Cars having slowed down at the start of the bottleneck, have no option but to accelerate. You will pass and not be stopped, mildly irritated and wondering what they are up to, and will soon forget the incident. BAM ! A month or so later comes the challan with the photo of your numberplate, date, the permissible norms, and your actual emissions ! As I said previously, under acceleration the actual emission WILL BE higher than the standard at 'idle and stationary', as required for the PUC test according to the CMV Rules, and even new BS4 vehicles get challaned.

As I have to pass this trap often on my way to work from Howrah via the new bridge and 'maidan' roads, I do it with heart-in-mouth even in my BS4 Gypsy -- careful not to accelerate even if those behind start honking ! Having been challaned a number of times in the carburetted Gypsy and Jonga, I had developed a trick of putting the vehicles in neutral, or switching off the ignition, and rolling past the trap losing momentum but ignoring the impatient BAKRAs behind. And I just don't ride my Yezdi motorcycle that way, taking more congested detours !

The Asst. Director (Tech) of PVD Calcutta -- in charge of the operation -- knows that he can be challenged in court, but since everyone meekly pays up (the fines), he is merrily making revenue for the department !

Will try to post a photo soon, if nobody beats me to it !
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Old 31st July 2014, 12:23   #63
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

Common sense clearly seems to be the rarest thing on Kolkata's roads. The mess we see on our roads is a combination of poor road design, lack of civic & common sense and poorly trained/unaware drivers.

The Modern High School (MHS) crossing in Ballygunge is a good example of this. People who know this area will probably agree with me.

The flank approaching from Gurusaday road is divided down the middle by a row of plastic bollards. Yet, people approaching the signal drive down the wrong side of the road and wait. I have seen it happen a number of times that they end up blocking the entire road for the traffic flowing in the opposite direction! All of the drivers on the wrong side then rush to get back on the correct side and create a bigger mess!

People try and take the left turn from the extreme right side of the road. Now imagine 30-40 cars trying that together while mixing with cars that want to go straight or right at the crossing? You get one big 'Khichri'!

I was in the middle of this all this morning. Normally it would take about 5 minutes to make it through this signal. Today, I ended up spending 15 minutes in one spot.

And to top it off, there was one lone cop trying to manage this chaos all by himself. I actually felt bad for the poor cop who seemed to be running around like a headless chicken, though he seemed to be trying his best to fix the gridlock situation. He looked extremely hassled and helpless.

I fail to understand how dumb can some people be when it comes to anticipating traffic movement. Everyone seems to want to go first. They fail to realize that in their quest to push through first, they will end up creating a massive grid-lock. A little bit of patience and thinking while driving could help avoid such situations where everyone suffers.

I got nudged from behind by a Maruti 800 while waiting in the traffic. Though it was a light touch and nothing happened, I got out to confront the offending driver. Instead of apologizing, he just said "nothing happened, so move on". Gave him the dirtiest look and decided to move on as it was pointless arguing with an idiot.

Rant over. Cheers.
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Old 1st August 2014, 19:55   #64
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Yes, crossing the centre line on some intersections while waiting seems to be encouraged by the police, too, or ignored by them, as in the case mentined.

Turning left from the rightmost lane is probably unique to Calcutta, but it has its own logic, as the left lane is invariably blocked by those wanting to go straight but not disciplined enough to wait behind others. It is the same impatience which makes everybody honk at everybody else the moment a red light turns green, or makes everybody crowd a crossing with those who should be behind coming up to try to get through first !

Regarding the roadside pollution check, I forgot to include what little I know of the equipment, as requested by 'SS-Traveller'. The PVD Calcutta use a 4-gas analyser, of the type used in the authorised test centres, but the probe is supposed to be more sensitive. It HAS to be, as in the test centres they insert it deep into the tailpipe, whereas on the roadside, where they are not stopping and measuring, it is doing the job 5-10 feet away when cars are passing rapidly one by one. How do they even ensure they have the fumes from the right vehicle, when they are all mixing in the air ? These are questions that bear close scrutiny ! Coupled to the 4-gas analyser is a speed radar (some were purchased by KP but never used in their true role) which trips every time a car passes, and takes a snap of the numberplate area. The whole data is supposed to be correlated in Mumbai (as informed by the Asst Director-Tech during our heated exchange), so it takes about a month to send the notice to the alleged violators !
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Old 4th August 2014, 18:43   #65
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Classic lane (in)discipline in Kolkata. This is the Jadavpur P.S. signal once again (a four way crossing). The signal is closed with a free left permitted (green arrow visible on left and ahead). Yet the entire road is blocked by traffic (most of whom will go straight) and shockingly the two left-most lanes are calmly blocked by a dumper and a bus that will both be going straight. Not only is this going to infuriate left-going vehicles but it leads to some bikers using the footpath to take a "free" left. (And I just realised -- another cab on the left with no driver's side ORVM!!!)

Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?-dsc00359.jpg
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Old 18th September 2014, 19:10   #66
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Kolkata folks -- please avoid the Jadavpur Police Station crossing (coincidentally photographed above). There's heavy disruption of traffic yesterday and today due to the Jadavpur University fiasco. I suggest using Lake Gardens flyover and Golf Green/Bijoygarh if you are headed towards Garia from the north.
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Old 21st September 2014, 19:32   #67
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Thank you, Kumar R ! The Jadavpur Univ unrest is not only the biggest news in Calcutta for the last three days, it is the ONLY news. Even the indefinite taxi strike has been eclipsed by it !

I sometimes feel lucky to live in a downmarket area like South Howrah -- congested and filthy, but such a short hop away from Central Calcutta, with relatively traffic-congestion-free roads of the Maidan area and the Second Bridge to tackle. Posh and cosmopolitan South Calcutta has the Hobson's choice between the severely pot-holed and narrowed (by Metrorail construction) E M Bypass and the under-siege Gariahaat/SCMallik Road (normally under siege by unruly autos & buses and high traffic, and now by Durga Pooja shoppers and agitating students) !

By the way, two points to note about your earlier post of 4th August regarding lane (in)discipline.
1. The left lane is usually also the BUS LANE, giving buses the right to crowd it even at crossings with 'free left', and
2. Ambassadors in the petrol engine era had only an inside mirror and the right ORVM was an 'optional extra' (forget the left), so even now some taxis do away with it ! Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the same was the case with Fiat/Premier Padmini. I am sure about the old bikes and scooters -- they came without mirrors -- you had to buy and fit them yourself !
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Old 23rd September 2014, 13:08   #68
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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Originally Posted by SnakemanJohny View Post
2. Ambassadors in the petrol engine era had only an inside mirror and the right ORVM was an 'optional extra' (forget the left), so even now some taxis do away with it !
Hi

I think the Ambassador always came with Right ORVM but left one was not even an option till 1995.
My 1971 Ambassador model had a right ORVM and re-checked with dad that he did not put it later on as I saw it as late as 1990s, when I was old enough to drive the car.

I don't know about Premier Padmini but it may also have.
I think we have motor vehicle act which specifies Right ORVM as mandatory.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 13:28   #69
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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My 1971 Ambassador model had a right ORVM and re-checked with dad that he did not put it later on as I saw it as late as 1990s, when I was old enough to drive the car.

I don't know about Premier Padmini but it may also have.
Nope. The Amby did not have an ORVM till the Maruti 800/Omni (called just the Van then) were launched. As late as 1982, our WMF registered Mark-IV did not have ORVMs - forget 1971! IIRC it was 1988 onwards that Ambys had ORVMs on the right side only.

The fashion in the '70s and '80s was to install fender mirrors on either side as an aftermarket accessory, but in Calcutta those things left gaping rusting holes on the fenders after a couple of years of use.
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Old 24th September 2014, 18:31   #70
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

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Originally Posted by SnakemanJohny View Post
By the way, two points to note about your earlier post of 4th August regarding lane (in)discipline.
1. The left lane is usually also the BUS LANE, giving buses the right to crowd it even at crossings with 'free left', and
2. Ambassadors in the petrol engine era had only an inside mirror and the right ORVM was an 'optional extra' (forget the left), so even now some taxis do away with it !!
Thanks. What is inexcusable is that these are not ambassadors from the 70s or 80s (or even early - mid 90s). They would be 1999 (at the oldest), majority being 2000+ (due to 15 year rule for transport vehicles), and yet they are (obviously) permitted to be sold without an external rear view mirror (which I suppose costs not more than Rs 500 to install). On the other hand I do not recollect ever seeing a M800 (including the old ones from 1986/87) without a right side ORVM. If HM could not understand the importance of this over the last 20 years, I shudder to think what else they never bothered to update about the Amby.

Apparently, if this page is to be believed Delhi Police classify not having a rear view mirror as a 'major motor vehicle offence'

Incidentally that left lane in my photo is not a Bus Lane. Those have to be marked 150 metres ahead. As a whole, south Kolkata roads rarely have Bus Lane markings - one conspicuous exception being S.P. Mukherjee Road.
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Old 24th September 2014, 19:54   #71
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Thanks. What is inexcusable is that these are not ambassadors from the 70s or 80s (or even early - mid 90s). They would be 1999 (at the oldest), majority being 2000+ (due to 15 year rule for transport vehicles), and yet they are (obviously) permitted to be sold without an external rear view mirror (which I suppose costs not more than Rs 500 to install). On the other hand I do not recollect ever seeing a M800 (including the old ones from 1986/87) without a right side ORVM. If HM could not understand the importance of this over the last 20 years, I shudder to think what else they never bothered to update about the Amby.

Apparently, if this page is to be believed Delhi Police classify not having a rear view mirror as a 'major motor vehicle offence'

Incidentally that left lane in my photo is not a Bus Lane. Those have to be marked 150 metres ahead. As a whole, south Kolkata roads rarely have Bus Lane markings - one conspicuous exception being S.P. Mukherjee Road.
Okay, Kumar R, I surrender ! Bus lane or not, keeping the left-most lane free does not come easily to Calcuttans. Normally we feel mighty pleased if buses and other HMVs stay on the left. The custom generally is for buses to ply and stop (even to let passengers in & out) in the centre, so that a rival bus cannot overtake it, as you may have noticed. In the process they block other, faster traffic.

As for the ORVM, the taxi owner may not have fitted it the last time the car was repaired and painted, maybe he had had too many ripped off or stolen ! He will anyhow fit one before the next fitness test is due. Sab Chalta Hai !
Hindustan Motors DID give right ORVMs till the demise of the Amby, may its soul rest in peace !
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Old 24th September 2014, 20:48   #72
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Default Re: Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?

Just wanna add that if Amby taxis are off road, the average speed of all other vehicles increases by 10 kmph.
Really felt this during the 5 day taxi strike.
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Old 25th September 2014, 19:48   #73
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Another traffic oddity for city-bound folks from Salt Lake to be mindful of.

Before the Nicco Park crossing on the EM Bypass (just after the stadium), I sometimes see a traffic police volunteer using a hand held LED? baton to stop traffic. He stops traffic even while the overhead signal is green - I think he first stops traffic and then over walkie-talkie advises the signal operator to turn the signal red.

Anyway, it's very hard to spot these guys at night since they wear Blue and not the usual White uniforms of the traffic cops. Also, sometimes seeing a green signal we may ignore any other indicators so please be careful. Here is a photo of the guy -- very high risk job it seems to me.

Does Kolkata Have The Worst Traffic in India?-img_3557.jpg
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Old 25th September 2014, 20:18   #74
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Does kolkata have the worst traffic in India? No. It has the least roads. So it appears to have the worst traffic in India.
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Old 25th September 2014, 20:56   #75
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Does kolkata have the worst traffic in India? No. It has the least roads. So it appears to have the worst traffic in India.
Yes! I would agree with you. In Kolkata the road surface area is only around 6% whereas other metros in India have around or more than 20%. What makes it even worse that a large portion of these road areas de-facto have been taken over for setting up shops by the hawkers, for dumping building materials by the promoters, for parking by the commercial vehicles and so on .
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