Many of you may have noticed the newly designed bus stop signs around the old town, and love how the routes are now clearly (and modernly) presented. These are the work of Mayday, a group of young creatives who want to make public transport easier for everyone.
Mayday was founded in 2016 by Sanon Wangsrangboon (owner of Once Again Hostel), Sucharee Rawithornthada, Suwicha Pitakkanchanakul, Vipavee Kittitien and Waritthorn Suksabai. They all met while working on city-based voluntary projects and later discovered that one of their common interests was finding a way to make public transport better for city dwellers. That was how Mayday (a play on the French phrase Venez m’aider which means “please come and help me”.) was conceived last year.
“Having worked on a number of city development [projects], we came to realize that part of the problems in society is caused by [the inefficiency] of public transportation. [Improving public transportation] is key to solving the many challenges the city is encountering, including quality of life, and economic and social inequality” says Vipavee. One of Mayday’s first projects involved redesigning the bus stop signs around the old town—the bigwigs at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) saw their work, were impressed, and commissioned them to redesign the signs at 188 bus stops in the area to inform the mourners that would come to visit the Royal Crematorium last year. “That was our official launch project. Later, we were offered small jobs and started earning money.
This year, Mayday plans to design the signs that show the city’s boat routes. “We've discovered that there were no signs on the boats and the billboards were outdated” says Waritthorn. Travelers end up getting lost when taking the boat because they only know the pier’s name but don’t know anything about their surroundings or even if their destination is nearby. So Mayday intends to develop comprehensive and user-friendly signs to help these passengers. “There are about 4,000 bus stops in Bangkok while there are probably less than 100 piers. The boat system should be easier to work on, I guess,” laughs Vipavee. While working on the boat system project, Mayday is aiming to continue on redesigning all bus stop signs across the entire city.