(QCostarica) The backlog in road infrastructure has turned our roads into real battlefieds, warriors (drivers) battling out positions to get to work on time or home at a reasonable hour, their prize.

The daily traffic nightmare lived all around the greater metropolitan area of San Jose. Photo La Nacion
The daily traffic nightmare lived all around the greater metropolitan area of San Jose. Photo La Nacion

Although drivers know they are breaking the rules of the road and principles of good driving, they do so anyways.

The worst of the worst has to be in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), where drivers “invade” shoulders and islands to create free space and lanes, even travelling in the opposite direction, to get “ahead of the other guy”.

Mario Calderon, director of the Traffic Police (Policia de Transito) calls these drivers “mañosos” (crafty) and blames them for aggravating the congestion.

In an interview with La Nacion, asked what causes the backlogs in traffic, Calderon said, “sometimes on the road, we have to beat the behaviour of the others, be the keenest, the shrewdest; that’s a bad habit that many drivers have picked up nowadays.”

The vehicular fleet in the county is now about 1.3 million. According to estimates by the Transito, some 300,000 vehicles daily circulate the metropolitan area of San Jose.

Although there is a vehicular restriction in place in San Jose, daily from 6:00am and 7:00pm, monitoring compliance is a difficult task for the understaffed traffic police. There just aren’t enough traffic officials to ticket drivers in vehicles restricted to circulate. Or clear blocked intersections. Or keep traffic moving. Reduce the time to respond to traffic accidents.

And the problems of the rainy season, the collapsing and flooding of roads, mainly due to lack of road maintenance and infrastructure, aggravates the situation.

And then there is the delay in implementing announced changes like the creation of exclusive bus lanes or the reorganization of bus routes.

One change that may alleviate some of the congestion is the announced shift in the starting work time of some 100,000 public sector workers that is to take effect in the first week in August, when civil servants can opt to start their work day at 6:30am, 8:00am or 9:30am and work up 10 hours a day for four days, with one day off in the week (not a Monday or Friday).

La Nation’s Kenneth Barrantes presents this video of what really goes on in our roads today and the reaction of drivers who get caught on camera doing “their” thing. Some will shy away, one driver sped off when he saw it was a news camera, others are frank, with a common refrain: everyone is doing it, I know it is wrong but, it’s the only way to get ahead, I don’t do it all the time, not every day and so on…

Share the video with your friends. Use the comments section to tell us your traffic nightmares, routes to avoid during rush hour or tips on driving through the battlefields across the GAM.

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