The unsaid rule on the roads of Lahore is that there are no rules at all!
The city of Lahore is considered to be the heart of Pakistan. It has immense historical significance and is famously known for being a cultural and educational hub — it’s a beautiful blend of history and modernity. Besides, it’s known for its food.
Yet another aspect that makes Lahore particularly ‘famous’ is its air pollution which is thanks majorly to the traffic we meet on the roads — unruly and chaotic.
Traffic jams in most parts of the city are a daily occurrence. The most ironic thing about this is that everyone seems to be in a hurry, be it the motorcycles, the cars, the public transport buses or the rickshaws; and yet, none of us is punctual.
Driving on the road, trust anyone to jump in from anywhere, at any time. If at a signal you don’t move the car, the very second it turns green, you get honked at as if you ran over a cat. The said and unsaid rule on the roads of Lahore is that there are no rules.
An ever increasing number of private cars and vehicles on the roads is also worrisome. There is barely enough public transport to cover the population of the city. There need to be more buses and metro trains, along with trams, so that the pressure is reduced on the roads and, like in any other cosmopolitan city of the world, the majority of the people take the public transport rather than use their own cars and bikes.
At the end of the day, what we truly need is behavioural change. We, as a nation, need to learn to respect rules and boundaries. We need to be taught road sense. We don’t even know how and where to cross the road.
Moreover, you see teenagers driving cars too big for them, without a licence. There is no sense of parking on most roads. People can just park and leave their cars wherever they wish to. A famous example would be the service road in front of the Swera Departmental Store in Shadman. People load their shopping bags into the car without a worry in the world, even if that leaves a queue of cars behind waiting desperately to merely cross the service road.
This is still an example of a more civilised part of the city. Areas like Garhi Shahu, Samanabad and Ferozepur Road are a nightmare for drivers, and there’s no way that you can make it back from there within reasonable time.
At the end of the day, what we truly need is behavioural change. We, as a nation, need to learn to respect rules and boundaries. We need to be taught road sense. We don’t even know how and where to cross the road. Besides, we litter the roads and accept zero responsibility for it. We contribute to the noise and air pollution. The worst part is, maybe, that we don’t even care that we do this. Awareness and education of such things should be made a priority.
The writer is a communications manager at a private company. She can be reached at [email protected]