Bangkok is notorious for many things, but waiting for a traffic light to change is among the most excruciating experiences. I am an exclusive cab-taker _ chalk it up to the 15 minute walk to public transportation, the inexpensive fares and laziness. As such, it is an annoyance I endure on an almost daily basis. Sitting there I imagine the things I could get done in what feels like 20 minutes of waiting _ call my mom, write an email, do my taxes.
But I never actually measured it. Until now.
That’s right 6 minutes and 52 seconds for the light to change at Asoke and Sukhumvit at 4 pm. Is this the height of rush hour? Not really. Is there a royal motorcade blocking the intersection? Nope. Is someone suffering from cardiac arrest in the turning lane onto Sukhumvit. No! It is simply that traffic lights in Bangkok last four times as long as ones in every other major city in the world.
In a city where traffic is a perennial headache you’d think the folks in Bangkok would reevaluate their methods. Then again, the city has decided that rainy season is the time to repave the sidewalks, leaving only loose dirt for people to slog through. Brilliant guys.