Two low-floor buses broke down on Teen Murti Marg during the evening rush hour even as thousands poured into the city's streets for Diwali shopping, bringing Lutyen's Delhi to a standstill.
There has been a jump in the number of vehicles on Delhi's roads in the past few days as more people travel to shop for Diwali, traffic police sources said. "The situation worsened when the two buses broke down," Satyendra Garg, the joint commissioner of police (traffic), said.
Garg said the breakdown of the buses had affected the movement of vehicles on all arterial roads in Delhi. In some areas, policemen had to manage traffic manually. Roads in central Delhi were among those worst affected.
Traffic slowed down on the entire stretch of Ring Road, including in areas such as Ashram, Moti Bagh, Dhaula Kuan, Raja Garden, Friends Colony and Moti Bagh, Rao Tula Ram Marg, Sardar Patel Marg and Mathura Road.
"There was an almost 40% jump in traffic volume during the peak hours on Friday, which is way beyond the capacity of the roads," Garg added.
Although the traffic police deployed their entire 6,000-strong force on the roads, vehicular movement in several areas remained unmanaged. The situation on the weekends will not be as bad, Garg assured, as those going to offices will be largely off the road.
"It took me around two hours to cross Race Course Road as the traffic had come to a halt. I was stuck near the Prime Minister's residence for a long time. Surprisingly, there was no traffic policeman on the road to manage the situation," Praveen Arora, who was on his way to attend a wedding, said.
Devdan Sharma, a Noida resident, got stuck in Chanakyapuri for over an hour in the evening. He pointed to the absence of traffic police personnel on the stretch.
The traffic police adopted the "arm-by-arm (or, lane-by-lane)" approach to managing traffic at several intersections, while in some places they had to manually change the timing of lights based on real-time traffic situation, said a police officer.
VIP movement during the day also has contributed to traffic snarls at some places.
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