After taking bus to commute in the morning for a little bit more than a week, I realized that buses runs faster than private cars in Shanghai. Even included the time to park at the station, passenger off-load and load, it is still faster than private cars. It takes about 40-50 minutes to arrive in Xujiahui, or 1 hour at peak time. There are several reasons to it.
Public Transportaion Bus has Special Lanes
On Zhaojiabang Road, the right most lane was designated for bus. It has yellow line seperating the lane from the rest.
When I drive my car, I just feel many private cars still often violate the rule, and run on the lane, but when I am on the bus, I feel it is still much faster because of having relatively less cars on the lane. At red stop, when the car lanes have backlog of 1 km, the bus just go ahead and run – run – run until very close to the red light line.
This save the bus much time.
Bus Drivers Drive Wildly
Bus drivers don’t follow the traffic rule as strictly as other car drivers. They just drive wildly, and policemen tend not to care about them. Why? I saw some cases when the policeman stops the bus, and the whole bunch of people on the bus surrounded the policeman and protest to ask the policeman release the driver.
Taking the 20 meter road of Jin Xiu Road 锦绣路 and Pujian Road 浦建路 for example. The bus stop was very badly designed. They have a stop at the right side of the road, which is the 5th lane from the left, but most of the buses need to take immediate left turn after they leave the stop. The problem the bus drivers face is, how to pull the car from the inner most lane to the outermost lane in 20 meters – that is only about 4-5 bus longer. The real situation is, in the morning at rush hours, all the lanes are packed with cars to like 1 km long behind this point. If I drive the bus, I may need crush some cars to get there.
The bus driver always have ways. They pull inside the lanes just as if the other cars does not exist, and the solid white line between the lanes do not exist. It is the car driver’s job to stop in a rush, or forced to another lane. Anyway, every morning, and for every bus, they can manage to do it. I is a chaos situation, just like a big fish jump into a small pond.
For some bus drivers who cannot get to the left turn lane, don’t worry. They simply use the right lane or the straight forward lane to turn left at green light.
The other example is, on Pusan Road 浦三路, I always find my bus running on the left side of the yellow lane, which is running opposite to the traffic… I agree, that is faster.