Rush hour is back - congestion at pre-Covid levels

Cities are back on the move again after Covid and the holidays.

Photo by Kuang Da

Photo by Kuang Da



Complaints about traffic congestion on social media have become noticeably more frequent this week.

Real-time traffic alerts and ridership statistics appear to confirm that there really is an issue.

Cities are finally on the move again after Covid and Spring Festival. And it is not a widely liked return to normality. People have quickly forgotten how bad things were before, and they don’t like it.

On Wednesday morning, Baidu Map's congestion ranking showed the familiar tedious old story that Shanghai and Beijing were the first and second most congested cities during morning rush hour. After the two heavyweights came Chongqing, Wuhan, and Nanjing.

Traffic in Shanghai was 32 percent busier than the previous week and averaged less than 20 km per hour, despite the largest subway system in the country, conveying 10 million commuters on most business days over the past two weeks.

Subway ridership in Guangzhou and Shenzhen has also been on the rise. On February 10, Guangzhou had a ridership of nine million, the highest so far this year and equal to the daily average in 2019.

That same day in Shenzhen, with a population of 18 million, people made more than eight million subway trips, the second busiest day in the city's records.