Posts Tagged ‘Bangalore’

The Government tries, but alas

July 30, 2009

I happened to be writing an article on ecotourism today. In the course of my research, I happened to stumble upon the website of the Sikkim Department of Tourism. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Although the layout and user interface could be much better (the site claims it is under upgradation), the content was great for an Indian state government site. There were no broken links that I came across, all the information was up to date and it contained a nice browse by map section that I really liked.

I, being a loyal Bangalorean, then searched for the Karnataka Tourism Department website. But alas, the search was not easy. I Googled “Karnataka Tourism” and the tourism department site was not on the 1st page.  I then tried “Karnataka Tourism Department”. The result, unfortunately, was the same.  Down but not out, I tried “Government of Karnataka tourism department” this time. The result was a listing of a few private travel sites, a report by the Government of Karnataka and the official site of the Karnataka Government, but still no Tourism Department. A closer look at the pages that showed up in the search told me that the tourism department is actually named the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC). It turns out that the KSTDC promotes two websites promoting Karnataka Tourism – KarnatakaHolidays.net and KarnatakaTourism.org which did actually show up in my earlier Google searches but showed no indication of being official Karnataka Tourism sites. In addition, the KSTDC has its own site. I still can’t figure out which one is the actual official Karnataka Tourism website.

As it turns out, both tourism websites are quite usable, well designed and have a lot of relevant information. But if the Government can spend lakhs of rupees on developing these sites (as I’m sure they did) wouldn’t it make sense to spend an extra Rs. 1000 on a Google for Dummies book and get the site optimized for searches? I guess some people never learn.

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Big 10

July 6, 2009

Have you noticed the Big 10 buses that have recently been introduced in Bangalore. It was pointed out to me recently that the logo reads BIG in both English and Kannada.

The Big 10 Logo

The Big 10 Logo

I’m really impressed by BMTC’s newly acquired design sense (although I’m sure a design company hired by them designed the logo). It’s a really pleasant change from the drab looking buses that we usually come across. I’ve seen a few pictures of buses with really funky advertising. I like this quit smoking campaign.

Creative Bus Ad

Creative Bus Ad

Why don’t we have more such advertising in our country? I think it makes buses look a lot cooler than they usually look. Check out this link which has a few nice creative bus ads.. http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/03/07/clever-and-creative-bus-advertising/

Anyone seen other nice ones?

Hop on the bus, Gus

July 3, 2009

Everybody hates Bangalore traffic. Gone are the days when Bangalore was known as the “Garden City” or “Pensioners’ Paradise”. The first thing that people from other cities ask me is “Is the Bangalore traffic really that bad?”. Well I hate to admit it, but it is!

Bangalore was never designed to handle the kind of traffic it does today and so the roads are not wide enough. But a large part of the problem is that Bangaloreans who can afford a car or a bike simply do not use public transp0rt. Compare that to Bombay, where executives in suits share the local trains with labourers in lungis.

A lot of blame lies with the public transportation system of the city. Until recently, the BMTC buses were unusable for the uninitiated or the brave. Buses that are designed to hold 40 people are packed with more than twice that number. Route information was written only in Kannada and timings were highly unreliable. However, things are beginning to change. The Volvo fleet introduced by the BMTC makes commuting on a bus much more comfortable. You get a comfortable ride in an AC bus with a great view of the city. I take a Volvo bus to work on most days and I enourage all of you to do so. It’s convenient, cheap and comfortable.

Even though the BMTC has done quite a bit, there is still a long way to go. Bus timings are still unreliable. The bus that I take to work (BIAS route 7) arrives anywhere between 9.00 and 9.20. I’ve resorted to calling up the bus conductor everyday to find out exactly when the bus will get there. The BMTC website is woefully inadequate. It is designed so badly it is almost unusable. Trying to find out information about the buses that ply on a particular route or timings of a particular bus are an ardous task. A more usable site which has such information is btis.in.

The Namma Metro project seems to be chugging along quite nicely, with things seemingly on track. I read a newspaper article today that said that the government is planning a mono-rail project to supplement the metro. There is a high speed rail link coming up that will connect the Bengaluru International Airport with the city. This will supplement the BMTC’s airport bus service.

Things are looking up as far as the public transport infrastructure goes. Now comes the hard part – bringing about a change in mindset. All you guys who drive to work and back everyday, hop on the bus!