Service Design Challenge #BKK : Transportation

Travelling around Bangkok has been one of the most discussed topic for almost everyone who have been there. Apart from the extreme traffic conditions, different means of transport from both the public and private sectors (buses, subways, vans, boat, taxi, etc.), even though trying to provide conveniences for everyone as much as they could, still caused great confusion among both locals and visitors.

One thing that you cannot rely on is the precision of the ‘information’ that supports public transport users in Bangkok (and other cities around Thailand as well). The available platforms from public sector, for now, are proven to be pointless. For example, every bus stops in Bangkok display only the number of the buses that stop there without other useful informations; such as waiting time for the upcoming buses or the route for each buses that stopped there. In this case, non-regular users, such as tourists and non-locals, always find it difficult using the transportation since there are no on-site touch points to access crucial informations. Most users reaches for the help of Google Maps, but in most cases are left confused by the uncertain arrival times and different ‘unknown’ conditions that causes random uncertainty of the upcoming buses. In the end, they are usually left with the more expensive yet less confusing solution, Taxis.
One of the location that this problem proves to cause a lot of confusion is the Victory Monument: one of Bangkok’s biggest transportation hub located in the centre of the city, linking different modes of transport from/to everywhere in Thailand. It comprises of a big roundabout, shopping districts, and public plazas, making it the most active transport hub in Thailand. It also hosts a location where vans stop to pick up their passenger. In this case, as many have experienced, it is extremely difficult to define which van to take if you wanted to go somewhere. There are more than 10 van stops to get into more than 80 vans at a time, and over 100 different routes that will take you across 20 provinces around Thailand.
Fortunately, there are several private companies and startups that took this issue into consideration and try to organise these complications and collect some insights to solve this problem. SmartVC, a media advertising agency, believes that public transportation map and information is an important infrastructure that the city must offer. They take the opportunity to offer  infographic visualisation to provide lists of vans and buses at the Victory Monument with their destinations and where you can board the van. They then distributed these informations through leaflets and prints on bus stops around the Victory Monument as the first phase. As a result, this project received great number of positive feedbacks, helping users to access their buses and vans correctly and conveniently.
The next step step for their project will be providing users with more touch points; such as website and mobile application. In this way, it should support a wider range of users, especially tourists, to access the crucial information while travelling in and around Bangkok, and possibly around other parts of Thailand.