Driving Hell on Earth: the World’s Worst Commutes

How was your journey to work? Well if it merely involved a tranquil trip on the train or a relaxing drive you should count yourself lucky. Across the world millions of people face journeys more akin to an endurance race, having to suffer delays, cramped conditions and boredom. Read on to find out about some of the worst commutes from around the globe.

Traffic Jam in São Paulo, Brazil

Bangkok, Thailand

Commuting in the world’s most populous city is never likely to be simple.

Over 5 million cars use Bangkok’s antiquated road network each day, with the system estimated to be able to cope with less than half that volume. The bottlenecks commuters face in Thailand’s capital are legendary; a problem exacerbated by the prestige locals attach to cars as powerful status symbols. The city’s poor public transport system worsens the situation and it’s not unheard of to take two hours to travel one kilometer.

Mexico City, Mexico

According to a recent survey, over half of the commuters in Mexico City believe their health has been damaged by rush hour traffic. The sprawling city is home to around nine million people and has only recently begun to address its chronic transport problem, with travelers still suffering from limited public transport options. And whilst many can relieve themselves of some of the hardships of their journey through modern rental cars from companies such as Europcar, the majority have to suffer in sweltering heat and humidity.

Seoul, South Korea

Commuting in Seoul is the equivalent of entering the motoring Wild West – anything goes.

This megacity almost grinds to a complete standstill during its rush hours as drivers adopt their very own interpretations of the Highway Code. Inhabitants are reluctant to obey road signs of any description, leading to pandemonium, blocked intersection and, ultimately, a hellish commute packed full of long delays.

Dhaka, Bangladesh

One of the most densely populated places anywhere in the world, commuting in Dhaka requires a mixture of insider knowledge and bravery. With little in way of regulation, commuters must battle through interweaving lines of traffic. Whilst modernization is taking place, the city currently lacks a viable transport system to cope with an ever-growing population of economic migrants flocking to its bright lights. Dhaka’s urban pollution is also among the world’s worst, adding to the woes of commuters.

Beijing, China

We all remember the smog in the build-up to the 2008 Olympics – well imagine having to deal with that every day. Not only that, but Beijing is home to around 20 million people, the majority of whom descend on the city’s roads each morning to travel to and from work. A study a few years ago found that 69 per cent of travelers admitted to simply abandoning a journey due to Beijing’s traffic jams – a damning indictment of the commuting experience in China’s capital.

Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s trains might be renowned for their efficiency but that doesn’t mean you’d always want to use them. More than 11 million commuters take to Tokyo’s subway system each morning, with passengers often experiencing conditions more akin to a cattle wagon than a sophisticated mode of public transport. A recently published collection of photos showed travelers pressed up against the windows and doors of its carriages, locked in a claustrophobic commuting scrum. Tokyo’s high population density means that travelers face similar overcrowding problems on its roads and other public transport services.

Moscow, Russia

The Russian capital is famous for The Kremlin, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and now its extreme traffic jams. It’s not unheard of for commuters to face four hours of tailbacks on journeys across the city. Roughly 2.6 million cars descend on Moscow’s roads each day, with the city’s metro system also heavily overcrowded during peak commuting hours.

What is the worst commute you have ever experienced? Tell us in the comments below.

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