The one thing that all of us Hyderabadis loathe.
On your way to work? The prime time traffic is here to make sure you run late.
Need to meet a friend on the weekend? Just the route you’re taking is blocked.
Going out for a family dinner? The pile up at the traffic signal will ensure you all start bickering before you even get to your destination.
It was not always like this though. I remember a time when the roads were clear and the traffic would flow. A time when traveling 20 kilometres would not give you a splitting headache.
So when and how did it become like this?
Although we all blame the Metro Rail construction, there are several other factors that contribute to our traffic problem.
Firstly, the growing population of our very own IT hub, Hitec City. As the number of companies in the hub and their sizes grow, so do the number of employees. With some of them coming in their company cabs and others coming by their own transport, we have hoards of automobiles scurrying from all over the city towards Hitec city. This congests all the artery roads, making it difficult for people traveling to other places as well.
Secondly, the rapid construction of buildings along all the main roads has made the roads narrower. Not to mention the row of vehicles parked outside every store, also the outer vein of pedestrians and the autos and buses picking up these pedestrians. The real space for traffic flow ends up being quite minimal.
Thirdly, the incorrigible motorists. As one renowned tyre company’s ad very aptly said “The streets are filled with idiots”. Every Hyderabadi who uses their own vehicle to travel in the city will have experienced the immediate rise in blood pressure and sudden urge to scream at everyone on the road. Almost no one keeps to the rules. As for public transport vehicles, there’s no telling when they’ll decide to suddenly break or take a turn without indicating. It is absolutely impossible to navigate through any length of road without coming across at least one person breaking some very obvious road rule.
Fourthly, the diversions. There is always some VIP passing by, some laying of pipes, some demolition or some bunch of traffic cops deciding that diverting the traffic would make it flow better. In the recent past I have encountered so many diversions that the routes I thought I knew don’t even exist anymore. Maybe blocking a couple of U-turns or temporarily converting small roads into one-ways might ease up the traffic a bit, but the kind of long spanned diversions in the city that have come up off late just seem to block the traffic further.
So where is it going from here? Is the traffic going to get better once the anticipated Metro Rail is in function? Or is it just going to get progressively worse and end up like Mumbai and Bangalore?
I guess we’ll just have to wait and watch. But until then, fasten your seatbelts, strap on your helmets, follow the rules and do your part to make our roads slightly better to travel by.
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