Crowdsourcing the Police Work

Posted by Mark

metrash

I shot the video below while waiting at a traffic light a couple of nights ago. I noticed the car on my left was creeping forward and figured they were most likely going to run a red light so I started recording the car. A few seconds later as expected, the car ran a red light for absolutely no logical reason. But running a red light, driving on the emergency lane or parking illegally are just very common occurrences because people rarely get punished for their actions.


[YouTube]

So why don’t we crowdsource the police work? Awhile back when I posted about the Deera App in which you could report garbage around Kuwait, a reader emailed me and told me about how in Qatar you could report traffic violations using their app called Metrash2 (You can watch one of their ads for Metrash2 below). So why don’t we do the same in Kuwait? People are already taking photos of people people illegally parking in handicap spots or people driving on emergency lanes. So why not allow these incidents to be officially reported like the Metrash2 app?


[YouTube]


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Ramadan Traffic with Google Maps

Posted by Mark

googletraffic

Traffic during Ramadan is a hot mess. The roads are either empty or they look like a scene from an apocalyptic film where everyone is trying to escape the city. But, there is one thing I’ve doing this Ramadan and that is checking the real time traffic information on Google Maps before heading anywhere. Google Maps on iOS and Android both have an option that allows you to overlay traffic information on top of the map. So, before I head to a destination I just take a quick glance over the route to make sure it isn’t covered with lots of red lines, if they are I’ll just try to find another route.

If you’re looking for away to avoid traffic, this could help you out a bit.


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Uber Kuwait? Kinda…

Posted by Mark

easytaxi

Over the weekend Uber launched their services in Beirut which means Uber is now available in Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Uber is probably going to launch in Kuwait one day but until they do there currently is a service running in Kuwait that is kinda like Uber, it’s called Easy Taxi.

Easy Taxi is an app that’s available on iOS, Android and Windows phones and once you install it and sign up allows you to request a taxi. If you’re not familiar with how Uber or other taxi apps work its pretty simple. Whenever you need a cab you launch the app which will automatically pinpoint your location. Once your location is found a button becomes active allowing you to request a cab. When you click the button it starts scanning the area looking for available taxis. I tried it when I was at Sultan Center in Shaab and found 5 taxis in my vicinity. I confirmed the cab request and it told me the cab was 7 minutes away and that I could chat with the driver or give him a call if I needed to. The app also gave me the cars description and license plate number so I could recognize it once it arrives.

It’s pretty similar to Uber taxi except for the fact you can’t get a fare quote before requesting the cab nor can you pay for your cab using your credit card or PayPal account. But, until Uber comes to Kuwait this is a pretty good alternative. For more information on Easy Taxi just visit their website [Here]

Thanks Roberto


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First Drive: Porsche Macan S

Posted by Mark

macan1

The Porsche Macan S is Porsche’s new crossover SUV that just recently joined their lineup as the baby Cayenne. But, unlike the Cayenne the Macan has one thing that’s really going for it, it has the hottest rear end of any crossover on the market right now. I just loved the design of the lights on the back which is why I took so many pictures of it. Getting to test drive the Macan wasn’t that easy. Back in early May I emailed my contact at Porsche and asked them if I could borrow the Macan over the weekend. Turns out there was a two months waiting period since the Macan was fully booked every weekend. So, I put my name on the list and waited and waited until I got the call last week telling me to pass by and pick up the car.

rear3

When I first sat inside the Macan the first thing I realized was how much smaller it was than I had expected it to be. It was pretty compact and felt more like a large hatchback instead of a small SUV. The second thing I noticed was all the buttons going down the center console. I love buttons, but the amount of buttons going down the center of the Macan was just intimidating. I drove off the lot and headed onto the highway and thats when things started getting pretty impressive. Because the Macan is a pretty small and low car, it handles and feels like a small sports car. The engine is a 340HP V6 twin-turbo which is more than enough to get you some speeding tickets. The car is pretty fast… and extremely extremely quiet. Probably too quiet because when you’re on the highway its very difficult to tell how fast you’re going unless you’re constantly looking at your speedometer. You can’t hear anything, not the engine noise, wind noise or even road noise. Porsche did an amazing job with the sound isolation.

dials

Speaking of sound, the Macan I drove came with the optional Bose sound system. I am generally not a fan of Bose sound systems and if I hadn’t heard it I would have recommend to shell out KD1,370 for the optional Burmester sound system when buying the car. But, after spending a weekend with the Bose sound system I have to say I was impressed and it’s just a KD340 option. At low volumes the Bose can be a bit boomy but it’s very capable at high volumes and I was listening to a variety of music from electronic to indie. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) which is the cars stereo was also very practical. Its a touch screen which makes getting to controls quick and it’s also iPhone compatible. I was able to stream music either via USB located in the center console storage compartment or via bluetooth.

rear1

It was getting close to the golden hour so I decided to head out into the desert to take some photos of the car. The Macan is an all wheel drive car that comes off-road ready, there’s even a button marked “OFF-ROAD” which when pressed will adjust the cars various settings including ride height and traction settings in preparation for an off-road trail. I didn’t venture much off the tarmac since I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in the middle of nowhere but the little I did go off-road, the Macan handled well. But, it was mostly soft sand and nothing too deep to really test the car out in.

legroom

Later that day I picked up some friends and headed out to dinner. Although the Macan is a 4-door car, the rear passengers don’t have much legroom. It’s a pretty tight space and even getting in and out of the rear seats isn’t very graceful. But, no one really complained or asked for the front seats to be pushed forward so that’s a good thing. It probably has to do with the fact it’s a Porsche and looks like a sports car so people don’t expect much legroom in the first place. The roof height on the other hand was perfectly fine even with the optional panorama roof which my car had.

rear2

Once the weekend was over and I gave back the car did I realize how practical of a car the Macan was. I’ve been considering getting a sports car for some time now, a car that would compliment my current FJ Cruiser. The Macan though is two cars in one, it drives like a sports car but has the flexibility of an SUV albeit not the same full capabilities as either one. It’s an all round car, a crossover and one that works really well. Price wise the Macan is pretty reasonable starting at around KD20,000 for the S model and KD28,000 for the Turbo. I custom built a Macan S on the Porsche Kuwait website and pimped it out with all the options I wanted and ended up with a model thats around KD24,000 before the discount. Unlike in some other countries, many of the optional features come standard in Kuwait so even if you go for the base model, you’re still getting a lot of car. My color recommendation? Agate Grey for the exterior with the Monochrome Black exterior package and black leather sport seats for the interior.


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Flashing Lights on the Highway

Posted by Mark

flashinglights

What are these flashing lights on the side of the highway supposed to mean? Originally I had heard when they’re flashing it means you could drive on the emergency lane and that they only flash during rush hour. But, they’re now flashing during the evenings even when there isn’t traffic.


[YouTube]


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Vintage Trucks Event

Posted by Mark

pickuptrucks

Looks like a pick-up truck event was held recently at the Kuwait Car Museum. No idea when exactly it took place or else I would have passed by myself to check it out as well as post about it. Check out the video below.


[YouTube]


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Bus Overturns on Fahaheel Expressway

Posted by Mark

bus

I took the photo above a couple of hours ago while heading back to the city from the Hilton Resort. A public transportation bus had run off the side of the highway flipping over in the process. Not sure how many people were hurt but I counted at least three ambulances on the scene.


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BMW i8 Officially Launched in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

Earlier today the BMW dealer launched the i8 Hybrid Supercar to the members of the press. Remember the BMW i8 that had arrived at the airport last month? Turns out it belonged to the dealer and the arrival of the car was meant to be a secret. Due to a nosey employee at the airport, that didn’t happen.

The cost of the car is currently set at around KD55,000 although it hasn’t been finalized. A source of mine last week told me that 10 cars had already been booked with 3 confirmed sold (this is before todays launch) but the dealer isn’t willing to confirm this to me.

Check out the Chris Harris review of the BMW i8 on [YouTube]


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The Emergency Lane Confusion

Posted by Mark

copemergencylane

I have no idea whats going on with the emergency lane situation in Kuwait but there seriously seems to be some major confusion. The other day an article in the Arab Times said the following:

Jail, 3-Mth Vehicle Seizure For Emergency Lane Violators
Director of Public Relations and Moral Guidance Department and Acting Director of Security Media Department, Brigadier Adel Al-Hashash has announced the activation of a traffic law which punishes motorists who use the emergency lanes, reports Al-Shahed daily.

Al-Hashash explained those who drive in the emergency lanes will be detained at police stations for between 24 and 48 hours and the Al-Anba daily added their vehicles will be impounded for three months. He denied motorists were allowed to use the emergency lanes because of traffic congestion. He added, the Interior Ministry’s media department had earlier issued a statement in this regard. He said the law was activated on May 19 and the security authorities will implement this law in its strict sense.[Source]

First of all it seems no one gives a crap about that new law because over the weekend during heavy traffic on the Fahaheel Expressway not only were people using both the left and right emergency lanes, they were using it even when there was a police car in front of them (pictured above). No one was afraid of getting stopped, fined or punished. But then again, I’ve seen people run red lights in front of cops with no reaction from the cops so don’t know why I was surprised by this.

If that wasn’t bad enough, today there is another article in the Arab Times but this one contradicts the statement I highlighted in bold and italics in the article above. I’ve copy pasted this new article below:

Move To Reduce Congestion
Ministry of Interior has permitted the use of safety lanes on certain roads at specific times to reduce congestion.

In a statement, the ministry indicated roads specified for this purpose include King Faisal Expressway from the Sixth Ring Road, King Abdul-Aziz Road from the Sixth Ring Road to First Ring Road, and Al- Maghrib Highway from King Fahad Road to the First Ring Road.

The permitted timings are 6:00am-9:00am and 12:30pm-3:30pm, noting the times specified are the busiest in the country because Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti employees and students leave and return from the schools, institutes and universities during the period.

The statement added the decision was based on directives from the Interior Minister and Acting Minister of Awqaf Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and the Undersecretary Lieutenant General Suleiman Fahad Al-Fahad.

The road users can only use the safety lanes during the specific period and at specified locations to follow regulations, reiterating the lane is originally for ambulances, fire engines, police cars and civil defense but other vehicles can use it now, as instructed, and the speed limit is 45 km/h. [Source]

So a few days after one person issues a statement saying that no one is allowed to use the emergency lane not even during rush hour, another person releases another statement contradicting the the first person. Talk about lack of communication and confusion on this subject.


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Kuwait Signs iPhone App

Posted by Mark

kuwaitsigns

Kuwait Signs is an iPhone app targeted towards local residents who are planning to take the driving license test. The app has information on street signs, highway speeds, local driving laws as well as other helpful information like how to apply for the driving license. The design of the app is pretty clean and simple, there is a quiz mode which I didn’t so well in and finally, the app is in Arabic and English. If you’re interested the app costs $1.99 and can be found in the app store by searching for “Kuwait Signs”.


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