Driven up the wall

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To those who landed in their workplace with at least one hour’s delay this week; to those who, for the whole week, had to fumble for excuses to give their employers; to those patients who missed their hospital appointments and those doctors who could not get to their patients; to those bus commuters who roasted on their bus for nearly two hours a day for a journey which normally takes 20 minutes; to all of you, I do sympathise. But other than sympathy, I have little else to offer – certainly no good news. It would seem that this is just the beginning of your ordeal and there are no solutions on the offing.

Fingers understandably were quick to point to the cracks on the M3 Terre-Rouge/Verdun motorway, part of which had to be closed to traffic. That is part – a large part, if you wish – of the problem. We hope that a proper enquiry is conducted and the culprits are named and shamed. As taxpayers, we have to get to the bottom of this and are entitled to the truth.

As commuters, however, our needs are much more urgent: we have to be able to get to our workplace on time, preferably without the awful stress which has become our companion again. And we need that to happen very quickly. Our productivity as a nation depends on it; our sanity as a people cannot be maintained without it.

And this is what we have: a police force which seems to have no direction and no idea what is going on any more. The traffic this week has been much worse than the days before the M3 was built; worse than the days before the new lanes and bypasses were built. Worse than ever, in other words.

Yesterday, Newton’s apple must have fallen on someone’s head in the police force – or outside of it, go figure! – and they suddenly opened a third lane from the North to Port Louis, thus creating a monstrous traffic jam on the busiest road of the country – that leading from the South to the capital. Experimenting! When, they at last realised – all by themselves, mind you – that it was a horrible idea and that their ‘initiative’ had actually resulted in more horrendous traffic jams than we had ever seen in this country, it was too late to do anything for the poor commuters, who must have exhausted all the Gods they could pray to.

When there is a problem, a solution has to be found. Of course, whoever is responsible has to be taken to task in due course but in the meantime, the current ministers need to use their time more profitably by working out how to go about getting us to our destination and shortening our journey, alleviating our stress and contributing to maintaining our sanity. It istheir responsibility. They cannot run away from it. That’s what they have been elected to do. Don’t we deserve some consideration, damn it!

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