Timing the wait

I realized that this feature was unique to Bangalore only when a friend who was visiting us from the U.K. pointed it out with surprise -time counters at the traffic signals counting down the seconds left for the signal change. It is a great idea to anticipate the amber in advance and prepare to stop. It also encourages motorists to turn off the ignition thereby conserving fuel and reducing pollution from exhaust fumes. Personally it is a great de-stressor for me when I see the reducing numbers; otherwise I tend to count the period of wait in increasing order of seconds ticking away which gets me worked up. These days I even look forward to a signal as I am always fascinated by the way my comrades in waiting utilize these seconds.

Oneday,a scooterist stopped his vehicle and rushed to drop a Cheque into an ATM counter and zipped back in time. I used to wonder how an ATM that is located right at a traffic junction can call itself “convenient” – Now, you see?

Another day, the motorist in front locked his car and rushed to pick up something from a shop right near the pavement.

One auto rickshaw driver got out and checked the tyre- pressure with a few kicks while another wiped the glass in front.

I have made purchases of wipe cloth or a magazine from one of the young men who sell these at these points.

I was amazed by this young lady’s agility when she shot out of an auto and quickly hopped on to a bus that was waiting next. Great presence of mind.

And of course, many two- wheeler users take out their mobile phones to check of missed calls and messages and if need be a quick response to one – well, a man has got to do what he has got to do , traffic signal or not, alva?

And all of this in a matter of 90 -120 seconds – we bangaloreans do know how to convert an inconvenience into an adventure.

8 Comments so far

  1. anita (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 10:37 am

    this is really a great thing to introduce though i didn’t know it’s unique to bangalore. i think mumbai too has them at main junctions… i can’t quite remember now. otherwise, people get impatient and start honking (national pastime!). in fact, when those things don’t work, i really miss them!

  2. Ravi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 11:18 am

    Every junction here in Chennai – of primary or secondary importance – has these timers! They work very well…hardly any which has given up or has broken down. Most of them are sponsored by the cellcos! Its a great boon for two-wheeler riders like me…if my wait is anything beyond 15 seconds, I switch off the ignition. Saves fuel and is a great-destressor too, like you said!

  3. Shruthi (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 11:39 am

    That’s a good observation! Some people on our bus even take that time to go stand on the footpath and stretch and do a couple of backbends, before getting back on to the bus.

  4. Mehak (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 2:52 pm

    missed a few points
    like how ppl honk honk n honk….at traffic signals when about 10 secs are still left
    how ppl zip zap zoom even before the signal turns green

  5. rubic_cube (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 4:08 pm

    Even I have seen these in Chennai, Mumbai and even in US though rare. It is a very good feature to have at signals. We would not fret if we know how long are we to wait.

  6. Danny (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 9:51 pm

    We have those at nearly all major traffic intersections here in Karachi — they are quite useful.

  7. randramble (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 1:28 am

    Using mobile phones at traffic signals causes a network jam during peak hours — howzzat?

  8. chikuado (unregistered) on April 12th, 2006 @ 12:41 pm

    It’s good that Bangalore has these traffic counters, but one very basic thing – synchronized signalling – seems to be very far away from getting here! Especially on Airport road and other roads with a series of signals on a straight road, synchronized signalling will not only help people move faster, but ease out traffic to a great extent. Apart from that, what’s with the >100 seconds signals?! That does not make any sense at all!

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