Here is another dubious distinction for Delhi: its peak-hour traffic crawl has been found the second worst in a countrywide survey, at 15kmph. But for Bangalore, it could have been the worst.
A large number of Delhiites got a taste of this crawl on Tuesday as they rolled off the Gurgaon Expressway and drove straight into a jam tailing off for miles from the Dhaula Kuan clover leaf.
"It was maddening," fumed an office-goer who had spent a better part of the day negotiating the crawl. And he was worried about the journey back, through the returning peak-hour crawl.
Let's just call it The Great Delhi Crawl.
It has now been endorsed by a countrywide survey conducted on behalf of the urban development ministry by Wilbur Smith Associates. Bangalore came out worst at 10 kmph peak-hour traffic speed.
Mumbai, which looks like marching time mostly, came out looking better at 18 kmph, followed by Kolkata at 20 kmph and Chennai at 22 kmph. The survey covered 30 big cities and looked at morning and evening peak hours.
The crawl could be because of on-going construction of flyovers, metro and persisting BRT islands. But in large measure it is because of Delhi's compulsive obsession with status and antipathy for public transport system.
Amitabh Kundu, a JNU professor, says, "While everyone happily uses public transport in Paris, in Delhi travelling in cars to office is considered a status symbol." This is unsustainable, he believes.
But for people to switch to public transport system, the latter needs to be of a certain standard, which is not the case yet in Delhi. Metro is the big hope, and people along the existing route are indeed switching.
And that's the way forward, say traffic experts.