Sunday 19 May 2019

Just do it

There are is only one thing in life we really cannot do anything about and that is the fact that, inevitability, one way or the other, we are all going to die. Oh yes, and taxes – we all have to pay taxes and there is nothing we can do about it.

For everything else, I figure, there is always some kind of solution. And yet, I have long ago concluded that, as a country, we prefer to moan and moan (and moan) about what needs fixing, but when to comes to the crunch of actually trying to do something about it, we grind to a halt.

Yes, a grinding halt, much like the daily traffic which has now reached ridiculous proportions, to the extent that people are ‘competing’ to see who has taken the longest to get from point A to point B. Thousands of cars every morning and every evening get caught up in a gridlock, made worse by the odd runaway horse, a collision at an intersection here, men watering the roundabout flowers there and of course, the roadworks which were put off until now (the busiest time of the year with children back at school), and which are being carried out during rush hour (when else?).

Whoever is in charge of these things, thumbs up. Way to go. Haqqek faxx karrotti as we say in Maltese (loosely translated: here, take some carrots, you’re basically a donkey)

I have read countless suggestions  how all this could be avoided, and have even made a few myself, but it has finally dawned on me that we are all wasting our breath. People don’t want solutions, especially if it involves them being slightly inconvenienced; they prefer fuming in their cars, crawling forward by a few inches every ten minutes and then venting about it on FB, rather than actually doing something about the problem.

It is, I have noticed, a pattern. Take any single thing that people moan about it and then register the reaction to it. As soon as someone comes up with a viable solution, the reply is always, “But…” followed by a list of reasons why it won’t work. It’s enough to make you search for the nearest wall (as a friend on FB likes to say), so that you can bang your head against it.  The one that really makes me grind my teeth is when people say, “But this is Malta, it won’t work”.

Why is that exactly? Are we special? Are we aliens? Or are we just hard-headed and set in our ways, refusing to budge if it is going to put a dent in our lifestyle by one iota? You know, you would be surprised how easy it is to adapt to new things when you open your mind to change.

There is another issue here – if you don’t try to implement some kind of solution, how will you know whether it will work or not? And if it does not work, that’s no biggie; at least you would have tried something rather than just sitting back and wailing to the heavens, bemoaning your fate for being born on such a small, often infuriating, nothing-can-ever-get-done-because-other-people-are-so-obstinate island.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting more impatient as I get older, but I really cannot abide self-pity and a defeatist attitude. Come on, chop, chop, I feel like saying, stop complaining and just do it (whatever it is). Whining will really not get you anywhere.

Committees, surveys, consultants, board meetings and elaborate and probably costly ‘studies’ are not the answer either – most of the time they are simply an illusion to make it look like something is being ‘done’.  Forget all these time-wasting devices and simply adopt a hands on and practical approach to whatever the problem happens to be; preferably one which can be implemented overnight without forking out a cent.

If Transport Malta has anyone monitoring the Internet (you know, because it might help to know first-hand what commuters have to say) they should have by now compiled a whole list of suggestions to reduce the heavy traffic.

But just in case they’re all taking naps over there in between playing Candy Crush, here is my idea.  Basically, people need an incentive to leave their car at home.

So I would offer reserved parking to those who carpool (one driver + at least one passenger). The parking attendants would be in charge of ensuring that the carpool parking is utilized correctly (rather than just sticking out their palm for a tip because they vaguely waved you into the direction of an empty space). You will cut down on the number of cars plus solve the parking problem because more people will be encouraged to car pool if they know they will find a parking space. And there will be more parking spots available because there will be less cars.

A domino effect if you will.

Of course, I’m sure there will be those who are saying “But…” – so all I can say is, try it out. Do a pilot project at, say, university, and see whether it works.

But please, please, whoever is responsible for traffic management, at least try and do something to come up with a workable, inexpensive solution which can be put into place right away.

Because at the rate we are going, the only way people are gong to beat the rush hour traffic is if they start sleeping at the office.  Just try explaining that to your spouse.







Powered by