Spending three hours in the car is no one’s idea of a fun time.
But spending three hours in a traffic jam in a car park three days before Christmas? That’s one of the circles of hell right?
Shoppers at Castle Towers shopping centre in Sydney’s west came face to face with this nightmare scenario on Tuesday afternoon.
The combination of the pre-Christmas rush and traffic disruption due to roadworks have been blamed for the debacle, which saw queues of cars banked up for up to three hours.
There were shoppers reporting speeds of five metres an hour as they crawled around the carpark, waiting to escape.
Some ultimately left their cars behind, and caught taxis home to avoid the jam.
In a statement to Sydney radio station 2GB the centre’s manager Martin Ollis said the centre did have a Christmas traffic management plan in place.
“During the final days of the popular Christmas trading period the surrounding roads are busy and Castle Towers management is doing everything they can at this time to ensure that our customers can enter and exit the centre in a timely and safe manner.”
Police were called to help with the congestion, but that didn’t solve the problem, with angry shoppers taking out their frustration on social media.
“Very much hope that being splashed all over the national news will be the kick up the rear Towers AND the Council so sorely need to finally take action on roads/parking… of course all huge centres are bad (not to mention at xmas) but today I actually had to give up and that wasn’t even at the worst time of day,” Elainia Corcran wrote.
“Castle Hill is ranked one of the worst suburbs for congestion so unless both parties work together we’ll all go to Rouse Hill or elsewhere.”
Others considered themselves lucky they had only been stuck for 90 minutes.
“We got off lightly with that infuriating 1.5hrs!” Penny Lee Perry commented.
As always, the good citizens of the Internet were full of suggestions for avoiding the traffic jam.
Like riding a bike, or shopping online.
Or just being more organised.