In my first missive on the subject of the HOV 3 Lane Project (HOV), I am sure I came across as irritated, frustrated and just plain angry.
To tell you the truth, by the time the first day of the HOV was over and the authorities dared to call it a success, I was livid. It was almost as if they came from a different planet and did not see what was happening on the tarmac!
Well, this morning ushered in the 3rd day of the HOV. The flow of traffic was certainly better than on Monday, and instead of it taking me as long as 1 hour 55 minutes as on Monday, it still took 1 hour 22 minutes. Certainly it should not take someone that long to travel between the eastern suburbs of Pretoria and the northern suburbs of Johannesburg at that time of the morning?! When leaving at 05:50, one would expect good traffic flow.
Yet, this is still not the case with HOV! From my observations this morning, I can see why it was a bit quicker than on Monday. Many, many more people simply ignored the HOV and even ignored the Metro Police telling them to move over to the middle lane. These Metro Police officers also were not consistent this morning. Out of the blue they would step out into the HOV lane and force non-compliant vehicles back into the slow lanes. Then, for no apparent reason, they would just chat among themselves until they felt like stopping someone again. In the meantime, many non-compliant vehicles would pass them without a problem.
What did the Transport Department expect? People are not just going to sit happily in the tortoise lanes while the rabbit lane is cruising along with long gaps between rabbits, and then not make use of the easy cruising in the rabbit lane?!
I would like to know how they are going to enforce the HOV? If they decide that the HOV was successful at the end of this week, are they going to have Metro Police sitting next to the middle lane until the return of the King, slowing down traffic, telling people to move to the middle lane? This would be pure blindness to the effect that that will have!
If I had to implement the HOV, I would not use the right-hand fast lane, but rather the left-hand lane. Why would I do this? There are three reasons:
- The left-hand lane will then have less traffic and will be more open for vehicles joining the highway.
- Related to the first, when there is less traffic traveling in the left-hand lane, then the merge with the cars coming onto the highway will be smoother causing less consternation to vehicles already on the highway.
- Vehicles using the HOV lane (left-hand lane) which do not comply with the HOV rules will be able to be taken off the tarmac for fining purposes without having an adverse effect as bad as it would be when the HOV is the right-hand lane.