By Nawara Fattahova
Complaints about traffic in Kuwait never end. Although traffic jams happen everywhere in the world, some people here see it as exceptional. Various restrictions were imposed in the past to limit the number of drivers on the road to ease congestions. This year, more restrictions were imposed on issuing driving licenses to expats.
These decisions and restrictions may relieve traffic by 10 percent at best, as the vast majority of those who have driving licenses and are not able to renew them due to the new restrictions won’t stay at home, quit their jobs, go back home or even use public transport. They will use taxis, arrange someone to drop them, or even drive without a license.
The real solution to the traffic problem is developing roads in the first place. The evidence of this solution is clear, with many examples, including the newly-constructed bridges on Jamal Abdul Nasser Road in Shuwaikh, the bridge at the United Nations roundabout on Fourth Ring Road, the bridge on Fifth Ring Road intersecting Airport Road, and many others. All of these made a huge difference.
Another powerful solution for the traffic crisis is having more collective transportation options that will attract passengers of all categories. In Kuwait, we only have the buses for public transport. These are not very punctual in their timing, and women rarely use them. Talk about a metro in Kuwait started more than 10 years ago, but it hasn’t been realized yet. The institutions in charge give many excuses, including that special permissions are needed to check the ground for crude, among others.
I watched a documentary on a new means of public transport in Thailand that was launched this year – a cable car system. According to the interviewed passengers, it saved them over an hour of time spent daily in transportation to and from work. One of the passengers also expressed her appreciation over this means of transport, that not just saved her time, but also relieved her from standing in a crowded bus or train, in addition to enjoying traveling in the sky.
Why can’t we have such transport in Kuwait? Building a cable car is definitely much easier and less costly than building a metro. It would only need building a tower at each station. And as the cable car is also considered a form of entertainment, most people will definitely be interested in using it, even those who never used public transport in Kuwait before.