I’ve heard lots of people tell me that Lima has the worst traffic… but then, Cairo, Dhaka, Bangkok, Delhi, LA, Santo Domingo, and a few others all claim that title. Even in Port of Spain, they claim to have the worst. I was inclined to say that Dhaka still holds the title. But, there are certain elements to Lima traffic that make it a contender — fear and boredom. In almost all cities with bad traffic, the “me first” aggression is the only way to get ahead, and in Lima, this is readily visible every time you step outside. During rush hour, the sheer numbers of cars all trying to go left from a right lane, or right from a left lane, or through red lights, is normal. There are many traffic cops and they will often override the traffic lights with their light sabers and whistles. The chances of getting in a traffic accident are high.
Then there’s the boredom. The hours spent in traffic (the painting above shows a day with light traffic). It can take an hour to go five miles. Apparently, Lima has grown as a city (9.5 million and counting) with commercial growth in the urban areas instead of expanding outwards. There is a business area to the south of the city but that seems to be it. Everyone else is commuting in to the city. When I say that it’s boring, I mean only if you get carsick from using your smart phone. Otherwise, if you keep your phone out of sight, and keep your wits about you, then…also, the traffic sights are not as interesting here. No camels, colorful rickshaws, overloaded carts, cattle, beggars, and so on. Just cars ad libitum. Ha.