The peak hour vehicle count on several thoroughfares across the city went up by nearly 60 per cent on Monday compared to the last few months.
The change is visible a week after the Bengal government allowed increasing the workforce in offices from 50 to 75 per cent.
On Monday, heavy presence of four-wheelers on stretches of EM Bypass, AJC Bose Road, Chittaranjan Avenue, APC Road and Diamond Harbour Road during the morning and evening rush hours left officers fretting as familiar sights of long queues returned to the city roads after a gap.
Officers of 25 traffic guards across the city said Monday’s vehicle count was mostly about small vehicles as buses and mini buses largely remained off the roads.
“At several intersections, including Rashbehari Avenue-Sarat Bose Road, Park Street-JL Nehru Road, Lenin Sarani-APC Road and CR Avenue-MG Road, the tail up was close to 65-70 metres,” said a senior police officer overseeing vehicular movement across the city.
At the Beleghata Main Road-EM Bypass intersection, the vehicle tail stretched up to 70 metres during the morning peak hours.
“During the height of the pandemic and early January, the tail up of vehicles at signals would stretch between 20-30 metres at the most,” said the officer.
Across parts of the central business district in Dalhousie and central Kolkata, police officers said the number of private cars was significantly higher compared to other vehicles suggesting many office-goers had chosen their own vehicle to commute instead of the public transports. The evening traffic on Canning Street, Jamuna Lal Bajaj Street, Kalakar Street and Brabourne Road forced officers to switch to manual mode briefly to manage the traffic.
A section of office-goers stepping out on Monday said it took them a few days to spruce up the space and draw up a roster for office attendance before opening the doors from Monday for regular work.
“For many, the physical presence of the workforce remains very important,” said Partha Pratim Dhar, a senior business associate of a private company dealing with earthmoving machines. “We decided to go the whole hog from Monday after completing necessary back office work.”
Several others said they have been asked to join offices beginning this week armed with Covid vaccination certificates. Most of them said they opted for their cars and two wheelers to commute against the public transport since they were ‘safer’.