Jury still out on Qatar traffic as 243,000 students return to school
Qatar residents are reporting mixed experiences on the roads this morning, as hundreds of thousands of children began returning to school.
Congestion was reported in a number of locations during the morning rush hour, including the parts of C-Ring Road that are newly under construction.
But many residents said they hadn’t encountered the gridlock they were expecting.
Still, with people continuing to return to the city from summer break, traffic could get worse in the coming days.
To ensure a smoother commute, the Ministry of Interior is advising motorists to leave early and drive carefully:
The MOI also said extra traffic and security patrols have been deployed across Qatar to help traffic move as smoothly as possible.
Just before 8am, snarls were reported around some of the notorious traffic trouble spots, including Toyota signal at the end of C-Ring, immigration flyover near Landmark mall, Jaidah flyover (the extension of the Salwa Road heading towards Musheireb) and Slope roundabout, by Education City.
— Nasim Al-Sham (@nasnas_here) September 7, 2014
@dohanews 30 mins commute last week easily turning into 50-60 mins 🙁
— Amad (@amadshk) September 7, 2014
But, expecting the worst, most commuters said their drive was not too bad – although most left earlier than usual. Here is a roundup of some of the comments from this morning on Twitter:
By the numbers
In total, 243,000 pupils headed back to the classroom after the long summer break – a 25 percent increase on the school and kindergarten population last academic year, according to Gulf Times.
Qatar now has 178 independent (state) schools, 154 private/international schools and 53 kindergartens.
To reduce the number of cars dropping off and picking up students, the Supreme Education Council has deployed more than 1,700 school buses across the country this year.
Some 700 new buses have been laid on for this term, and many of the buses have been specially designed to cater for students with special needs.
However, seasoned Doha commuters warned to expect heavier traffic in the days and weeks to follow as more people arrive in Qatar or return after summer break.
In previous years, schools have reported up to 40 percent of their students were absent on the first day of term.
However, under a new campaign of improving “discipline” in Qatar’s schools, the education Minister announced a raft of new measures, including the introduction of penalties for students who are persistently absent for no good reason.
These pupils will be banned from taking tests throughout the year and at the end of term, in a bid to improve attendance levels.
How was your commute today? Thoughts?