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Eid holiday marked by traffic jams across major cities

By Omar Obeidat - Aug 02,2014 - Last updated at Aug 02,2014

AMMAN — Having to navigate through severe traffic jams was a common complaint for residents of some major cities in the Kingdom during the Eid Al Fitr holiday. 

During the five-day holiday — which started Monday and continued through Friday — some motorists said they were stuck in their cars in congested streets for hours, particularly at night. 

“It took me over an hour to get from Hosun to Irbid,” said Majed Fram, noting that the distance between his village and the city of Irbid is less than three kilometres.  

He told The Jordan Times that traffic congestion is a regular scene in the city of Irbid, some 80 kilometres north of Amman, during long Eid holidays and in summer as people go out for food and entertainment. 

Faisal Sharairi, also from Irbid, blamed city planning for the traffic jams. 

The streets of Irbid are narrow and the number of cars is sharply increasing every year, he said, adding that the municipality or police department in the city should have prepared a plan to ease traffic congestion, which he described as the most annoying part of the holiday.     

Idrees Ahmad complained that he accompanied his family to a wedding reception in Irbid that was supposed to start at 10pm. 

“We arrived at 11:30pm because we spent almost two hours stuck due to the gridlock,” he said, noting that part of the congestion was due to wedding receptions as many people prefer to get married during the Eid holiday. 

The scene was similar in Amman, according to Mohammad Farra. 

“Driving in Amman at night was a nightmare,” Farra said. 

A trip that used to take five minutes was over half-an-hour long during this holiday, he claimed.

“Not only the streets were jammed but everywhere you went,” Farra said, explaining that shopping centres, restaurants and children’s play areas were also overcrowded. 

There are around 1.293 million cars in the Kingdom, according to the Drivers and Vehicles Licensing Department, and more cars enter Jordan during the Eid holiday as expatriates return to spend it with their families.

Official figures estimate the number of Jordanian expatriates at around 750,000, the majority of whom live in Arab Gulf states.

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