“Let’s pool in”: Car pooling campaign in Bangalore

I was aware of Commute Easy since long but thanks to Radio One campaign that this came back to my mind again. I have sort of become a very regular listener of Radio One because of it being the only Bollywood fm channel in Bangalore as of now and of late I have been hearing this “Let’s pool in’ campaign quite a lot on this channel. It’s a public service initiative launched by Radio One in association with Commute Easy and Bangalore Traffic Police to address the traffic woes of the city. www.commuteeasy.com is a car pooling website wherein one can register and search for people travelling to same destinations / route. You can search and register for pool depending upon the start and end destination as well as time of your commuting. One has the option to go by his own vehicle or any other vehicle in case you don’t possess one of your own. Apart from the site being very user friendly, it has got an interesting etiquette section as well, which chalks out the Dos and Donts neatly and helps to answer some questions regarding fee share etc which you might have in mind esp. when car pool concept is not so common in India.

I must say it’s a very nice initiative by Radio One and Bangalore Traffic Police. Traffic situation currently in Bangalore is nothing less than a nightmare and in fact it is getting worse day by day. As per statistics revealed by Praveen Sood, additional commissioner of police (traffic & security) – Bangalore has 32 lakh vehicles vis-a-vis a 60-lakh population as against Mumbai with 18 lakh vehicles in a population of 1.2 crore (Source: Times of India dated 28th Nov’08). Oh no wonder our traffic congestion is sooo bad and deadlier than any other metropolitan city in India. We always crib about traffic and all that, now at least here is an opportunity for us to do our bit to solve the traffic issues to some extent. I have personally tried this service last year for travelling from my home to work and for few days and I did find some good car pooling options that time. I had informed about Commute Easy to some people as well but then with passing time I had almost forgotten about this website. Good to be reminded about this service again through this campaign of Radio One! And not only Radio One is spreading the awareness rather they are giving some extra benefits like free movie tickets, invitation to some hip parties, song requests etc to all commute easy users. Well those are definitely some cool incentives to motivate people for using this service. I am personally all for this campaign and I will encourage all Bangaloreans out there to definitely go and check out www.commuteeasy.com once.


Political Advertising: Advaniji on web!

Just last week itself, I wrote about Political Advertising in India for 2009 elections and here comes another surprise of the same. Now after celebrities it’s the turn of Politicians looking up to the mighty web world. Joining the league is none other than L.K. Advani whose website http://www.lkadvani.in/ got launched on his 81st birthday on 8th Nov’08. BJP launched this website for their Prime Minister candidate Advani with an objective to reach out to the young and first time voters in India. As per BJP, this is the first website of its kind by an Indian Political party and is yet another step towards reinforcing the forward looking and futuristic attitude of their party.

The site opens up with an intro note and welcome message by L.K. Advani and is available in two different languages – Hindi and English. It’s an interactive website with loads of photos, videos, speeches and forums wherein visitors can participate and post their comment / suggestion / grievances. Overall the site looks neat and very 2.0 types except for the first landing page after home page. I think it’s too boxy, maybe they could have used some tabs and made it less cluttered. But content wise I liked the site. In fact to be honest I never expected it to be this deep esp. their “issues” blog section…quite nice and interesting posts there, though I think there should have been a section for users’ comments on each of these posts in order to make it truly interactive. I’m sure they have not allowed comments to avoid nuances and mud-slinging by opposition parties but then if you want it be interactive you need to provide the facility of comments and expressions, see some cool examples of Bollywood celebs like Big B or Aamir Khan. The forums allow posting and comments but as of today I don’t see much participation from external people over there. The home page content is definitely getting updated as I can see a difference between yesterday’s and today’s content, have a look at the scrn-shot:


Overall a neat website and considering the fact that most of the first time and young voters are digital natives it’s definitely a good step and modern approach towards reaching out to Indian youth. It’s good to know that Indian Prime Minister candidates are going high-tech, but wondering is it their own thought or is it Obama effect 🙂?

Also my fundamental question about Political Advertising in India remains the same – is it worth spending so much money before the elections in communication campaigns when most of the Indians know the realities of Indian Political scenario? It’s good to see such interactive platforms getting launched but is BJP going to take any step to solve the real-time issues or grievances being posted on the website or will these just remain as comment counters to prove that the website was a successful strategy with X number of comments and Y number of hits in Z number of days? Will it actually help in a building a “Strong, Prosperous and Self-Confident India” or will it end in just being yet another marketing gimmick?