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Business Opportunity: Traffic Jam Substitute Driver

Posted in driving, Featured, Roads by Kurt Ernst | January 20th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Light traffic, in Beijing.

Commuters in the United States have nothing to complain about compared to commuters in Beijing, China. Even the worst Los Angeles or Atlanta traffic nightmare can’t compare to the recent two-week traffic jam outside of Beijing. While that was exceptional even by Chinese standards, an exploding population of cars and limited routes into major cities make traffic jams a way of life for Chinese commuters. If you have a flight to catch, or an important meeting to make, allowing hours of extra time used to be the only way to ensure you’d be there on time. Thanks to some entrepreneurial car service owners, Chinese motorists now have another option.

For a fee of roughly $60, stuck drivers can be picked up by motorcycle, while a car service employee hops behind the wheel to wait out the traffic jam. The owner’s car is delivered to his home or business, while the owner gets where he needs to be quickly on the back of the motorcycle. The service is growing in popularity in Chinese cities such as Wuhan and Jinan, but (ironically) isn’t offered in Beijing due to rules barring motorcycles from freeways. I’d think there’s a way around that using secondary roads; if your option was to sit in the car for six hours or walk half a mile to be picked up by motorcycle, which would you choose?

Beijing isn’t the only world city plagued by epic traffic jams. A recent study by IBM showed that traffic in Mexico City was equally bad, followed by traffic in Johannesburg, Moscow, New Delhi, and Sao Paulo. Los Angeles made the list (in 14th place), as did New York (in 17th place ) and Houston (in 18th place). Still, there’s not enough commuter suffering here to make such a service worthwhile. Anyone up for starting a business in Mexico City or Johannesburg?

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