Pune Bus Stop Plate Photo
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Pune bus map

Design of the Pune bus route map by Shweta Kamble

Why there are no bus-route maps in Pune even after the Pune Bus day event?
This question haunting our minds and therefore Shweta Kamble (student IDC, IIT Bombay) had set out to take up the challenge of designing the Pune bus map. Unfortunately, the project is stalled as we could not implement it on locations. However, documentation of the project can help students from other design institutes in Pune/ India for it to be taken further or make improvements. 

Information Design, Information visualization, Designing Bus Route maps

About Pune and its transportation system.

Once known as city of bicycles, today Pune has become the city of bikes. Pune scores highest in two-wheeler percentage in the state (Maharashtra).
Testing of the Newly designed Pune Bus map
Other than auto-rickshaw, bus transit is one of the major public transport in use. Pune’s bus routes and the services seem to be chaotic because of lack of information. People run around to ask bus routes, numbers and timings. This is a common sight at every bus stand in Pune.

Objective of the project:

This project aims to design a 'Bus Transit Route Print Map' which visually explains routes, frequency, timings and bus stops of all the PMPML buses running in Pune city. The map will guide you to the shortest and all possible alternate bus routes to reach destinations. The map will be easy to use and will take minimum time for comprehension by passengers and commuters.

Challenges of the Project:

  • To make the map more legible.
  • Make it schematic with minimum alteration in geography 
  • Overlapping, parallel, merged and long routes to fit in an ergonomic size. 
  • Will people find the map useful when they have an option to ask.

Essentials: Pune bus map routes

  • User should quickly locate his destination (primarily for novices)
  • Map should be bilingual (Marathi & English)
  • After multiple use it should form a mental model of the bus network
  • Mental model will help in making informed decisions 

Why did you choose to Design the Pune bus Map? Earlier you had different projects in mind? Why this project?

Interview with Student: Shweta Kamble.
As a visual communicator, I always find it challenging to deal with information design problems which people face in their day to day life, it's always satisfying when your design intervention can make a difference to someone's daily task. When I was doing my user study for "Pune bus route map design" I found that there are more than 300 routes and there is no single detailed information in any form available for all these routes. Earlier I thought of some other topics for my project, but later I felt that this project has great potential for information design. Also it was challenging because with each day more and more people are avoiding and are hesitant to use public bus transport due to unavailability of good service and reliable information. Now with an ideal map I can at least try to help solve the problem. Currently there is a lack of information about the bus stop locations. Commuters cannot find which buses stop where? Or what route they take. Even today, the most reliable guide is the conductor of the bus and nobody else. Every time, one has to confirm if the bus goes to his destination with people on the bus before boarding. My idea was to take up a more realistic project like this one which can be easily implemented and also that people can use it.

There are primarily two kinds of travellers needs associated with the bus travel.

1. Generally when a person is new in the city or he/she is travelling for the first time to a particular destination, he/she needs exact information about the particular route. Point A to B. This kind of traveller wants quick answers to his questions and is not interested in the overall structure of the city or routes.

2. I realised that there were a lot of people who felt the need of a proper routes information map, because they knew only the routes they frequently travelled, but had very little or no information about the others. We can term it as the latent need.

You have spent your childhood in Pune? Share your the travelling experience on buses. I have heard people migrate to a two wheeler as soon as possible when they are able to afford one? Is this true?

Being a Puneite, one thing which disturbed me each and every time I traveled by public transport was the bus service of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). The routes are chaotic and hard to manage but someone should take a stand and start resolving some of the problems. Buses are the only means of public transport in the city. In my school days I used to travel by bus, later to my relief I bought a two wheeler for college. I have also frequently travelled by auto, most of the times shared auto.

People in Pune prefer to travel on their own two wheeler, which is more convenient than the unreliable public buses. The current survey says that there are 75.3% people who prefer to use two-wheeler for commuting in the city and only 0.8% people use public buses. There are various reasons, first is unavailability of buses on time and second is biggest confusion at the information deprived bus stands. People get into wrong buses and after half their journey they realize that they are in a wrong bus. This is the very reason people avoid going by public transport, unless they have no option. There are very few people who can easily travel by bus but, they say that they have adjusted themselves and are used to the transport system as they cannot afford to travel by private vehicle and also due to ever increasing petrol and diesel prices.

There have been several attempts to do the Pune bus map? What is your analysis of those maps? Do they work or they have some short-comings?

Yes, as per my information there were only three previous attempts. The first map was designed for "Pune Bus Day" by Elephant design, Pune. This map was designed for a one day event which was carried out on 1st November, 2012 popularly known as "Bus Day". On that day some extra number of buses were added to the existing PMPML fleet specially for the event. The map covers route numbers, origin, via destination and frequency. But, if you were to search any particular destination, you need to scan the whole map each time. This is not a usable feature. Moreover the map does not cover all the bus depots and routes.

Picture below: Map designed for Pune Bus day on November 1, 2012 by Elephant Design.

Second was the Pune bus route map designed by the (MNS) Maharashtra Navnirman Sena with Bloon Design Pune.

- This map covers only the 24 routes which have a frequency of 10 minutes or less.
- The 24 routes are indicated by 24 different colours, it results into too much of colour coding and clutter. The shades are quite similar making it difficult and confusing to remember the map. - Plus point of this map is that it uses an index and a grid.

Third attempt to Map design was by Arjan Vir Singh a student of Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune.

- We tried to contact the student for feedback but he did not reply on Facebook. We later got to know that the student was ill and last year he passed away because of Cancer. Guide: Prof. Mahendra Patel

Two more students have designed the Pune bus map under the guidance of Prof. Mahendra Patel

- Tanvi Dalal and Konark Ashara ( Pune Darshan Bus service).
Interview continued:

Share your observation when you put up the map for testing at Upper Depot, Pune? How did people respond to your abstracted diagrammtic map?

I designed the map for Upper depot, such that you can locate all the buses passing/leaving from Upper depot. Once I completed both the languages we put up Marathi and English maps at Upper depot. People were very keen and were reading the maps as they were never exposed to such a bus -route Map. Maximum people preferred the Marathi map.
Testing of the Newly designed Pune Bus map

How did people get the Bus route information before you posted the Map?

"We ask conductor about the bus routes & timings?" - most of the travelers "There is no such thing available like boards or maps" - Conductor (enquiry office) "I search on Google maps"- 17 yr old boy

Tell us about your overall observations of the people using the map?

- They have a habit to ask conductor about bus timings, and my map did not mention the timings - Instead of asking "does this bus goes to XYZ stand?" people ask "What bus is this?" followed by various questions. Most of the time the driver and conductor answered but when they are busy or tensed they tell people to ask their queries at the enquiry window.
Newly designed Pune Bus Map

Observations during People looking at the map

- Very few people looked at the instruction on the map
- First they were looking at the routes
- Need a guidance on how to read the map
- Box number was confusing at first time but after guidance it's easy to search the bus stop.
- It needs initial learning, to guess the grid and the code visually is tough for a novice.

Questions asked by users:

- Is this the map for whole city?
- Where are the bus timings?
- Is this map available on all depots/ bus stands?
- Is this available on Facebook or website?
- Will it be it permanently installed here?
- How did you create the map?

Feedback by conductors and drivers:

- This map is helpful for people because it covers most of the information.
- People will have to learn how to find route in the map and use the grid
- It's very useful for new users, tourists, who are new to Pune and want to travel by bus.
- Sometimes we get confused with certain routes, this will help us to get an overview of all routes of upper depot.

Shown below is the map by Shweta, this was put up for display at Upperdepot in Pune. 

Interview ends.

Free Download:

PDF File size: 11.9 MB / Dimensions:  W41  x  H 33 inches 


Shweta kamble photo
Shweta Kamble
Communication Designer  
Alumnus IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay

Prof. Mandar Rane 
A special note of thanks to the Mr Ramchandra Joshi (IAS CMD, PMPML), Dr Pravin Ashtikar (JT Managing Director, PMPML), Mrs Mayura Shindekar (Chief Executive Officer, PMPML) for providing me with all necessary information and appreciating me on every step for this initiative.

Special thanks to “Janwani” an initiative of Maratha Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA)
Thanks to Mr Harshad Abhyankar who works for the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy, for
providing necessary information and guidance.

I am thankful to Mr Amol Deshpande, Mr Yogesh Dandekar for their motivation and help on every thought sharing and discussion meetings. I would like to express my special gratitude towards my family and friends for their kind
co-operation, encouragement, attention and time which helped me in completing this task.