Perhaps I’m getting used to it, and since I’m not such a world-traveler I don’t know how it compares with the rest of the world, but New Delhi traffic seemed light today. Four of us and a local driver took the 300+ mile trip north from Delhi to Dharamsala. Skirting the central city, we progressed rapidly and began our journey. Probably most notable to Americans on the roads here are the thousands of families on motor scooters (see photo). This is a largely urban phenomenon and as we progressed farther into the “countryside” there were still numerous multi-person scooters, but fewer carrying whole families.
In Northern California I think we see much more uniformity of vehicles – I own a Volvo station wagon, and in many parts of the world that would be considered huge, but when I drive up into the mountains (to resort areas) and park in a lot, my car is dwarfed by the surrounding and supernumerary SUVs that tower over my tiny car, making it almost invisible and impossible to spot in the parking lot. Here in India it would be large for a passenger car.
So at our lunch stop today, I decided to point my camera at the road and snap every conveyance that came along during a 120-second stretch. And here’s what I got. My analysis of the mix is: big trucks; buses packed quite full; numerous scooters, with multiple riders in every case; some bicycles, also with multiple riders in each case; one CNG (large style) rickshaw; one horse-and-cart; a truck towing a truck; a truck carrying (I can’t even count how many) tractors. And this was just a two-minute sample. An additional read is India is an industrious nation with a lot of commerce on the roadways, and very little is wasted here. I this were the US, there would be no need for car-pool lanes because every lane would be a car-pool lane.
In general the roadways in this part of India are pretty good, though crowded. And two-lane roads always become three-lane roads in practice as oncoming traffic squeezes thru. We had one really bad stretch of roadway that had seriously degraded (even since last October), and some long stretches of construction, but otherwise it’s been a pleasure to make this trip.