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January 10, 2022

New service gets you out of traffic jams -- for a price

Late last summer, you might recall, a stretch of highway in northern China was home to one of the most bizarre news stories in recent history:

541531_traffic_jam “Chinese drivers stuck in month-long traffic jam.”

Wait, what? Indeed, such a headline puzzled many – the jam of cars stretched about 60-miles of highway because of construction delays – but is also brings forth one, important question. What kind of idiot would stay in a traffic jam for thirty freaking days?!

Yet going forward, if drivers insist on maintaining and not compromising their route, there may soon be a point of relief.

A new service in China aims to connect traffic jam-stuck drivers with wheelmen that will come pick them up at the site of congestion, whisk them away to their meeting or appointment and finish their trip – with their car – for them.

So, you’re stuck in a hopeless jam with no exits in site – and, in a country with 205 million drivers, this tends to happen – and you’re late for a flight. You call up this service, which sends two employees on a motorcycle to snake through traffic to find you and your idled car. The motorcycle’s passenger trades places with you, finishes your route with your wheels, and you take off on the back of the bike to your destination.

How much the service might cost isn’t set in stone, but a $60 charge figure has been thrown around in the media.

“There is a demand for the service, but it’s risky,” one source told China Daily, noting that many motorists aren’t likely to trust strangers with their vehicles. And, further, the idea of hopping on the back of a motorcycle that’s weaving in and out of traffic might not be high on some drivers’ priority lists.

Still, similar programs have been unveiled in other areas of the country, and there may be little doubt that people with the means might pay a premium to get out of the perils of days-long traffic jams.

Would you ever pay to have someone pick you up to get you out of a nasty traffic jam?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...