Traffic situation & Traffic Numbers
In 1980, there were about less than 80,000 vehicles, which swelled to 1.1 million in 2005. (source: Dawn.com). 100 cars were added to the traffic circuit, daily. The Musharraf’s era policies were erratic and it added to the woes which were never foreseen.
The once peaceful, wide-looking roads of Lahore, now are choked at major and insignificant junctions and traffic signals. Peak times are the worst. The traffic jams are a norm and a neck in the pain.
Psychologically, it has exacerbated and ruined the patience of the people, hence the road rage; a cause of accidents too. Traffic blockages and choking are now a never-ending dilemma drivers face today. Normally, people, being impatient, are never ready to give the slightest of space and breathing space, to just anyone. By 1999, we had 680,000 cars on the roads, with a 10% increase annually, the jump which exploded in the Musharraf era. The delivery vans increased 30 times from a meagre to 653 to 225,000 (Dawn, 2005). Now just imagine if a bazar like Shah Alami Market had these many vehicles at one time, what will be the plight of traffic control. Pollution not yet considered.
Cars increased by 18 times over the last 3 decades.
In 2015, according to the Gallup Survey, 17 million cars were registered in Pakistan. 12 million motorcycles, 228,000 buses, around 260,000 trucks,
** TIP ** – if people came out, with this thought that they would give a leverage of a minimum 10 seconds on the road, there might not be any traffic blocks and choked roads. But we don’t learn.
People’s perception of driving
If you’re reading this, can you spell out the procedure of procuring a driver’s license? If you can, what’s the nearest driver’s licensing and testing centre to you, without googling it. See? Most people just don’t know. Even I don’t know, which is the nearest traffic licensing department.
All I know, the civil secretariat issues licenses, without taking a test, against a meagre amount of money. All you have to find out is the 3 or 2 starred officer. Need be more said?
Now let’s look at some of the woes and pains we feel and find daily on Lahore’s roads.
Traffic Police Woes
Name any major junction and we have traffic there. Liberty, Defence DHA junction (Defence Mor), Arfa Karim IT Tower (Kacheri), Model Town Link road junction at Peco Road connection, Township’s Akbar Chowk, Scheme Junction (Scheme Mor), Kalma Chowk junction, Allah Hu Chowk at Wapda Town, Thoker Niaz Baig, the notorious Shahkam Chowk, Anarkali Bazar, the old city of Lahore’s all gates, the Data Darbar, the Minar – e – Pakistan.
Name it and we have a traffic jam ensuing at peak times. Of all these places, do we have appropriate walking pavements? Alas, the pavements are encroached by local vendors and are commercialized. Pedestrians were left to occupy what was left of the roads already choked.
Secondly, road ethics are just too much to wish for – Pakistani drivers are the most skilled ones, but on the local roads are the brashest. Road rage is common. Elite class’s driver community feels exonerated from rules, the lesser are not educated enough, the mediocre don’t have the means to own a car. That’s reality.
Step out at peak hours when people are signing off; you would find people not ready to give away an inch. Even the educated exhibit the most ill-educated attitude on the roads – won’t give way, would speed eccentrically, would abuse, honk, block, contribute to the chaos, would rev up the engines on the signals, won’t care of the pedestrians, would park in the middle and block traffic and parking slot, and still feel like the righteous king. That’s Pakistan’s roads; full of frustrations.
Combine all this and we have Pakistan’s roads jumbled up, for hours. Karachi is even far worse. Jammed traffic is a norm in the metropolitan.
Problems occur for solutions to be profited from. Here’s what we can do about it and earn lots of money. We=Local Governments. Here’s what the Punjab Government can achieve and in within days.
Profitable Project at hand
• Take a look at Hafeez Center and its surroundings – one would find scores of motorbikes parked, illegally of course. Those should not be under 500 of them. Keep that number in mind.
• Go to Liberty, you would find an average – 200 cars parked around the liberty, illegally. Again an opportunity. 200 is still less. Cover Liberty from the Roundabout to Gurumangat road – that numbers will add up. Give it an estimate of about 400 plus.
• Head to Mall Road – that’s a jungle out there. Start from the secretariat to the Canal – you would find 10,000 cars + 8000 motorbikes. I’m being very cautious here with numbers, but the profit-making, in the end, is huge and crazy.
• The walled-city and surroundings will have 3 times such traffic. Start from Data Darbar and to Minar – e – Pakistan – quadruple the previous numbers.
• So in total – we have about 74,800, about 80,000 cars to impound.
HOW TO IMPOUND?
• Cordon off Hafeez Center with police guards and vehicle impounding machinery (trucks and cranes).
• Whisk the vehicles away to the farthest trash dumping grounds on the outskirts of Lahore.
• These areas should be demarcated, with lanes and numbers for recovery.
• Impose a penalty of Rs.2000 per vehicle. If the car is not recovered within 5 days, the penalty goes up to Rs.5000
Now let’s add up these numbers –
80,000 cars impounded in 2 days – accrues – Rs. 160 million. Of this 30 % will be late to recover – that’s about 120 million rupees extra. So that’s a total of 232 million rupees.
Multiply this by 4 major cities – Karachi – multiply the figure by 5 times – Rs. 1.16 billion rupees
Islamabad – would be half of Lahore’s earnings – Rs. 116 million
In total – we earn about Rs. 1.5 billion rupees every month or every week. Depends on how swift your action and well-articulated your plan is.
HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE TRAFFIC COMPLAINT
Malcolm Gladwell once mentioned in his book, The Tipping Point, how NYC underground rail was set straight; the hooligans would spray paint the bogeys each night. NYC Police installed extra men to clean those every night, while some more extra were installed to nab the crooks.
This loosened the control of the NYC crime circles overnight.
Every major chowk (junction) needs extra men, while smaller far-away desolated junctions need undercover men to nab traffic violator.
Slap hefty fines for signal breaking, for crossing the zebra lines when signals are RED; yes that’s a crime too. This too will earn the Government an extra quarter of what impounding every week would.
The final word for containing the one-wheelers – nab them, repeat offenders will have their motorbikes impounded and sold away, and violators locked away for a week. Another extra money awaits there.
One-wheelers assume they are impressing girls, which they never. Instead, the government should use this money to make amateur racing circuits. Develop special gear industry, Sialkot is best for it; and you will have won many hearts.