The dreaded twice-a-day traffic mayhem returned to south Kolkata on Wednesday as the La Martiniere schools started physical classes for all students after over two years.
More than 5,000 vehicles converged on the Loudon Street-Rawdon Street stretch making it difficult to commute twice on Wednesday — once between 7.45am and 8.30am and again between noon and 2.30pm.
Many commuters alleged that police were not prepared. Police sources suggested they were overwhelmed.
Traffic on Shakespeare Sarani, Park Street, AJC Bose Road, Gurusaday Road, Loudon Street and Rawdon Street was choked for long periods even after the school rush had waned.
There were students who reached the schools late but were allowed in, parents said. “Perhaps because it was the first day. We cannot be late every day,” said a mother.
The snarls had a ripple effect through pockets of south Kolkata affecting students of other schools as well.
A traffic department officer said: “Today was the first day (in two years). Many must have forgotten that they cannot park their car in front of the school and bid an elaborate bye to their child. We had to request them individually to move their cars.” He was hopeful that things would get streamlined in a few days.
“The police had a meeting with the school authorities on Tuesday and were told about the reopening and made aware of the entry and exit routes,” said Supriyo Dhar, secretary, La Martiniere schools. Despite staggered entry and exit timings the traffic situation was chaotic on Wednesday.
An officer of the East traffic guard said it has always been a challenge to manage traffic when the schools are open. “Usually, when schools are open, many commuters avoid this stretch. In the last two years, all these vehicles had been using this stretch because the schools were closed. Today, they must have been caught unawares. We hope they will start avoiding this stretch again now,” said the officer.