Friday, October 10, 2008

Tales of traffic

One of the benefits of working freelance is I usually get to work from home, hence no morning commute! Unfortunately, the other day I had several morning errands/appointments around the city and let me tell you, the commute was HELL. I was feeling lazy and decided to take the 8 tram to my first appointment instead of walking to largo Argentina... Big mistake. The tram took 20 minutes to show up (I could've walked there in the same amount of time) and when it did, there were 3 in a row, packed to the gills. Now for those of you who don't know, the 8 tram was constructed years ago to free up some traffic on Viale Trastevere and to give commuters one sure-fire quick way to go back and forth along this route. There used to be lots of different bus lines along this route but the city decided the 8 tram would make everyone's life better. And it would have... if Romans weren't such obnoxious drivers. You see, the problem is drivers block the box and get stuck in traffic at intersections so the tram gets held up by car traffic. So during rush hour, the tram is at the mercy of traffic as much as buses or cars are. Brilliant.
I finally get on the tram and after one stop, it stops... We're all told to get out because the tram ahead of us has broken down. As I start walking toward Ponte Garibaldi, I notice a huge accident in the other lane which is blocking traffic and the tram coming from the other direction. All the traffic coming from Lungotevere was blocked because people couldn't turn onto Viale Travevere, etc. Absolutely insane.

This morning I had more errands and opted to walk. MENO MALE! Trastevere and most of the surrounding areas have been paralyzed for the past few days because of the demonstrations going on outside of the Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione. This morning the entire area in front of this Ministry was pure chaos. No trams were running in either direction, buses were either not running or taking strange mystery routes, and the locals were rightfully grumbling as they trekked to their destinations. I saw elderly ladies waiting for buses to Monteverde for an hour... When I left the house they were there and when I got back they were still there, loudly and angrily discussing the annoyance of this demonstration. Now as much as I support the demonstration going on, there has GOT to be a better way. Why should an entire city have to suffer because others are protesting? We all pay taxes (or at least some of us do!), and it's not fair that we have to endure this insanity for days and days, that we can't get to work, that we can't get around the city.
Maybe they should make Milan the capital of Italy and transfer all the ministries and government offices up there and let Rome breathe a little...

3 comments:

Ms. Violetta said...

One of the reasons I could not live in a big city - the traffic! Your description made me cringe. I can handle the occasional visits to large places but would not choose to live there - Never!

Romerican said...

I don't drive in Rome so it's usually not an issue for me but when the public transportation gets blocked up because of traffic- it's SO frustrating! I think they need to ban private cars from the center of Rome and let the buses take over the streets.

Emmina said...

Um, no thanks! We have enough problems up here in the city of smog as it is!!! I feel your pain though...