Monday, December 3, 2007

Traffic in Mombasa....

Driving in Mombasa, at any time, is a real pain rather than a pleasure, due to the narrow, ill-maintained road network. But, of late, it's trying to compete with Nairobi where traffic jams are concerned.

One reason for this is the time of year. Every year during the school and public holidays, especially when these fall around a weekend, there are so many cars which arrive here from up-country, it's unbelievable. Add to this the total foreigners who drive hired cars and don't know a thing about our roads and the traffic that plies them. With such a mixture, total insanity reigns. The traffic police, are few and far between and the few who are around, get overwhelmed with this set up.

Now, to add to this meleè, I've noticed, since the past couple of weeks, that, there are huge trailers, lorries, containers, etc., that have taken to going through town, indiscriminately and causing terrible traffic jams, everywhere.

I don't understand the purpose of these horrors going through town and being pests to other legitimate road users, but, they not only cause these jams, but, mess up newly 'carpeted' roads.

Mombasa roads are too narrow for such kind of traffic to maneuver on them and hence the traffic jams. Last Friday, sometime in the afternoon, there was one such gridlock caused by not just one trailer, but, at least, two on Moi Avenue at the junction of Ganjoni post office. There were at least two lorries/trailer that were approaching Moi Ave from Ganjoni and another was stuck, yes, stuck, at the roundabout, blocking all traffic on Moi Ave. itself and all the feeder roads around it. This being a trailer, it couldn't turn at the roundabout considering it's size and knowing our many matatus and matatu minded drivers, traffic came to a standstill. I was stuck in this mess. I had to ring 112 from my mobile for help from the cops. They told me that another person had rung them up, too, and that some officers were on the way..., whom, I never saw, eventually, when the mess got undone.

Why are these monstrosities, plying the town centre? Can somebody explain, please? Are they doing this deliberately because they have been told to keep off? So, now they have all ganged up and are causing havoc! They also intimidate lesser traffic by their size, 'you let me pass, or you'll be made mince-meat which hardly a scratch at my end!' Most drivers decide not to 'argue' with this mentality and let them pass even if it's their right of way.

Will the people concerned please, take some affirmative action?

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