If you think that the use of some 20 km long Shimla bypass may reduce distance between the two ends and travel time, you may be utterly wrong. The drive on this bypass road may turn into a nightmarish experience with traffic snarls consuming 2 hrs or more to travel this stretch.
As one enters the Shimla bypass road from Kachhi ghati end, one comes across scores of HRTC buses parked on both sides of the N.H-5 (THE SO CALLED NATIONAL HIGHWAY) leading to the new ISBT. The HRTC road side parking continues almost upto the new Bus Stand leading to frequent traffic jams and irritably slow movement of traffic. But the ill concerned HRTC authorities use the road as their virtual Depot on which they too have their fuel station and repair workshop.
Despite observations of the judiciary the HRTC authorities have failed to comply, as they continue to misuse the area for their parking needs. One wonders if HRTC is a state PSU or Himachal Government it self. Earlier it was presumed that upon the new ISBT becoming operational HRTC will be forced to shift their parking and workshop elsewhere but to no avail.
Not only HRTC, the entire bypass road upto Dhalli is converted into parking area by the other bus operators of Himachal as well as of Delhi and other states. The tourist bus operators find the bypass an easy spot to park where one may also come across budget tourists cooking food and picnicking. And during the tourist seasons each and every possible space along the bypass is turned into parking lots by the tourist buses and tempo travellers from Himachal as well as from other states.
The locals are only left to bear the burnt of traffic and parking problems while city businesses may flourish.
In the absence of any formal instructions to challan, the local police too is left to only manage traffic. The major bottlenecks begin from the very beginning of bypass to its end near Dhalli Tunnel barring a few places between Mehli to Malyana.
With the lack of Transport areas in Shimla, the truck drivers too park their vehicles where ever they find space along the bypass. The government initiatives to widen roads at some places to ease movement of traffic too have led to use of these spots for public parking.
With hundreds of vehicles parked along the bypass one wonders if the roads in Shimla are meant for driving or for parking.