Commuters went through a harrowing time on Thursday as thousands of people hit the roads to meet relatives for Rakshabandhan, slowing down traffic movement.
Delhi Traffic Police said jams began from parts of central and south Delhi from Wednesday evening around 4pm. Other parts of the city were also affected by the snarls.
Stretches such as Dhaula Kuan, Sardar Patel Marg, Teen Murti Marg, Moti Bagh, Central Secretariat, Connaught Place, Mandi House, C-Hexagon, ITO, Vikas Marg, Pragati Maidan, Mathura Road and South Extension were the worst hit by the festival rush.
“The traffic jams in some parts of the city continued throughout Wednesday night. There was an increase in the volume of traffic on several roads. Around Thursday afternoon, the situation was slightly under control but the traffic flow picked up again in the evening,” said a senior traffic police officer.
In major traffic intersections such as ITO, Ashram, Dhaula Kuan, Rajouri Garden (Ring Road traffic signal) and Rao Tula Ram Marg, traffic volume went up by at least 20%, the officer said.
Other affected stretches were Delhi Cantt (Cariappa Road and Sadar Bazar Road), Sagarpur, Dabri, Patel Nagar and Mayur Vihar.
In all major intersections, additional traffic staff were deployed to manage the rush and to direct commuters.
The capital’s borders were also choked as a huge queue of vehicles were trying to enter and leave the city. On the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway and DND flyway, commuters had to wait for over an hour to cover a 4-km distance.
“Is Delhi police on holiday? Huge traffic jams in and around vikaspuri (sic),” tweeted one commuter Anuj Srivastava on Thursday, with a picture of vehicles lined up on the road.
Another commuter, Tathagat Khandelwal tweeted, “Terrible traffic jams across Delhi today. Took me three hours to reach Vasant Kunj from Noida.”
Some warned fellow commuters and advised them to use public transport.
“Today and tomorrow Delhi will go crazy with Rakshabandhan traffic jams. Don’t take your cars. Choose public transport. Stay sane,” a tweet from the handle @lets_be_humane read.
To aggravate commuter woes, DTC, cluster buses and Metro trains also ran packed.
Even during non-peak hours — 12pm to 3pm — buses on several routes witnessed an unusual rush.
“We had increased the frequency on routes where there is high occupancy. Despite that the buses ran with more than the usual crowd,” a DTC official said.