In August 2010, road construction designed to improve circulation on the outskirts of Beijing ended up causing a 62 mile-long crush of cars, trucks, and lorries on the Beijing-Tibet Expressway. The jam lasted for more than 11 days, keeping some motorists in their cars for five days.
According to Xinhua, the traffic jam didn’t have to be as bad as it was; even after days of vegetating in their cars, stubborn motorists refused to take detours because they didn’t want to pay more for gas and tolls.
But one man’s nightmare commute is another man’s business opportunity. During the week-and-a-half-long jam, vendors walked from car to car, selling instant noodles at four times and water at ten times the normal price. «If you said ‘no› or complained about the price they threaten to break your [wind]shields,» one driver told the Inner Mongolia Morning Post. And who says China lacks entrepreneurs?
In some cases, events took quite a nasty turn. The Inner Mongolia Morning Post also reported incidents of modern-day highway robbers siphoning gas from lorries while their drivers slept, stealing cash from motorists, and, in one case, stabbing an older driver in the arm.