For the unenlightened, learning Bangkok’s bus system is like piecing together folklore, as for generations, everyone has accepted there are no convenient route maps.
Everyone except Somwasin Udonpol, an 18-year-old student who spent two years drawing out a bus route map by traveling across the city in hopes of benefiting both locals and tourists.
“Buses are like Bangkok’s blood vessels. They spread across the city and take you into the small sois. If people got on one bus, it could help ease the traffic issues a lot,” Somwawin said.
He added that he’s seen the confusion first-hand.
“I’ve talked to tourists who keep waiting for the cancelled bus No. 2 at Chatuchak,” he said. “And right now there are no guidelines on which side of the road they should wait for the bus.”
Whereas confusing trip-planners and stop lists exist, no simple visualization of the complex system existed.
Somehow, Somwasin was able to achieve something government officials could not. Maybe because he actually uses the bus. Using different color pens for each routes, he has drawn three maps from three starting points: Chatuchak, Victory Monument, and Min Buri.
Somwasin also enjoys helping out tourists and has learned to tell directions in English, Chinese and Japanese.
“BMTA staff told me this is a good information and my map is easy to understand. They admit people still look at directions from the text written on the bus,” he added
So far, Somwasin’s drawing has been put up by someone at a bus stop at Victory Monument while there are still no comments from transportation officials, Thairath TV reported.