June 3, 2008

Word of the Week: Tapón

I've talked about driving a little bit before but El Nuevo Día (with some help from the Associated Press) has provided a bit more fodder. Supposedly they've figured out that Puerto Rico is the country with the highest density of vehicles per squared mile in the world. I could have told them that...

Los puertorriqueños, especialmente los que transitan por el área metropolitana, conocen muy bien lo que significa “tapón” en el argot boricua.
Eso se debe a que, con 150 autos por milla pavimentada, Puerto Rico es el país con la más alta densidad de vehículos por milla cuadrada en el mundo, según datos del Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas (DTOP).
En la zona metropolitana hay cerca de 4,300 autos por milla cuadrada, también la proporción más alta a nivel mundial.
Puerto Ricans, especially those who travel through the metropolitan area, know really well what the word "tapón" means in Boricua slang.
This is due to that, with 150 autos per pavemented mile, Puerto Rico is the country with the highest density of vehicles per squared mile in the world, according to the Department of Transportation and Public Repairs (DTOP).
In the metropolitan zone there are nearly 4,300 cars per square mile, also the highest proportion at the global level.
According to the rest of the article, they're actively seeking solutions involving public transportation, hoping to siphon some ideas from Europe and Latin America.

In honor of the breath-catchingly high 4,300 cars per square mile, something that unfortunately I all too readily believe, I offer to you the word of the day, tapón. While it can refer to plenty of things, particularly corks, plugs, et cetera, tapón also is a traffic jam. And boy is that one overused word in Puerto Rico. I'm pretty sure it's used in other countries too, but looking at today's article, I feel pretty safe guessing that it's uttered the most on the island. Just a hunch.


Petra H said...

Well, if they improved the public transport system, and made sure that the buses arrive on time I hope that more people would use them... I do, but sometimes it is very frustrating, like last week when apparently there were not enough buses (??) and lots of delays, some people had waited for more than an hour for the bus and then it didn't stop at all the bus stops as it was too full!!
What do people do who need to get to work on time?? Leave home 2 hours before they are supposed to be somewhere...?

Speaking Boricua said...

I really agree. Hopefully they'll get started on that. Some of the buses are dangerous on top of what you complained about, which makes them both unreliable and risky on top of social stigma. It's sad, really.