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Uber’s first advertisement highlighting the plight of commuters in southeast Asia may just trigger a nerve for those stuck in traffic in Cape Town and Johannesburg daily.
Filmed in Bangkok with 200-odd extras, the company’s ad trades automobiles for Flintstone-inspired box cars. But that doesn’t mean there’s any less chaos.
From drivers stealing parking spots, to others cutting in ahead of lanes, to those select few who believe one-ways are in fact safe for bidirectional traffic: the video is practically what every road user experiences every day. Perhaps with less cardboard.
While the ad is undoubtedly stupid, remarkably silly and deliberately extra, it does highlight the growing problem of traffic congestion across the world.
Bangkok for example, according to TomTom’s Traffic Index, remains the second-most congested city in the world.
Uber’s own research suggests that Jakarta could come to a “standstill” by 2022.
Cape Town and Johannesburg remain among the most congested cities in Africa too.
There are also little if any short-term solutions to alleviate the traffic nightmare in South Africa either.
For Uber, the ad offers a suggestion that ridesharing and on-demand transport is the future of the modern city, and researchers from the likes of MIT seemingly agree.
But with South Africa’s metered taxi, and on-demand transport services often caught in the mire of a strike war, commuters will probably have to settle for congested cities for a little while longer.
And in some cases, resort to cardboard boxes entirely to get to work on time.
Feature image: screenshot, “Boxes | Let’s Unlock Cities” via Uber/YouTube