GoMetro, the Mobile App, launches a Printed Transit Map for Bellville, Cape Town
“Transport is the life-blood of modern cities, and GoMetro has it’s finger on the pulse.”
Currently there is very little digital information available documenting public transport routes (including minibus taxis) in all major cities in South Africa. This information gap currently restricts accessibility and mobility of public transport users in South African cities, as commuters do not have a clear view of their options. Routes are not documented or easily understood by commuters, and it is difficult to embark on trips in areas not serviced by bus or rail – which accounts for large parts of the urban landscape.
Although the GoMetro Mobile App has documented and delivered schedule results on Metrorail routes, and recently added MyCiti and Golden Arrow information into the mobile service at www.gometroapp.com – minibus taxi information has remained difficult to capture and produce. As a result, the transport team at GoMetro felt that South Africa’s transport is not truly integrated until minibus taxi routes are documented and mapped as part of the formal information system of a city’s transport system – and that such is accessible to commuters.
GoMetro has been innovating a new mapping technique for minibus taxi and bus route mapping using smartphones and ground teams with the aim of creating truly integrated public transport information in South African cities. As a proof-of-concept, for 3 months at the end of 2014, GoMetro mapped all transport routes around Bellville – where GoMetro’s offices are situated. The GoMetro Bellville Map has been generated by using our GoMetro Mapper app – (a mapping technology developed by GoMetro), by a team equipped with smartphones and the will to do something that has never been done before in a South African city. Over the course of 100 days, the team rode all busses, trains and taxis that access the Bellville Public Transport Terminal in order to build a complete map of public transport to and from Bellville. The map that is released today is the results of their efforts, and is an example of the public transport data that GoMetro creates and shares with users by means of our mobile apps.
Wesley Diphoko, GoMetro Head of Mapping says “The objective of this pilot project was to prove to ourselves and the transport sector that mapping of all transport in a consolidated fashion is possible. We have used our mapping technology for the benefit of the residents of Bellville and the surrounding areas – in our own backyard, as it were.”
The GoMetro Bellville Integrated Map has information about where commuters will find transport to and from the Bellville area. It displays the routes of all modes of transport (buses, minibus taxis and trains) – presenting how commuters can access the rest of the greater Cape Town area from Bellville Transport Hub – as well as what second-degree connections can be made from Bellville. It also illustrates fare cost information for all modes of transport in Bellville as of February 2015. Commuters will be able to plan and trace their journeys from Bellville to anywhere in the Cape Town area – without the need for a private car.
Justin Coetzee, CEO of GoMetro said, “The world is urbanizing at an incredible pace, and there are over a thousand cities globally that are struggling with the exact same dilemmas that South African cities are. The production of this Integrated Transport Map for Bellville is a showcase for the value GoMetro offers cities in South Africa, but also other areas such as Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey.”
Over the next coming weeks, this map will be distributed to large employers, university campuses, transport hubs, community centres and the general public in the Bellville area. It is our intention that the distribution of this map will improve the accessibility and mobility of the Bellville area, and increase economic activity in the revitalization of an important node in Cape Town.
Other cities and provinces in South Africa are also invited to participate in this mapping initiative by reaching out to GoMetro to find out more about the GoMetro Mapper technology.
GoMetro provides real-time updates on a phone screen. It offers users the ability to find the best route between two points via bus or train and helps to make public transport a viable option. Over the last two years, the GoMetro team have been digitizing public transport operations, quite literally taking schedules off of whiteboards and chalkboards and transforming those into searchable sets. GoMetro allows users the ability to contribute their own data, through posts on the site to “help everyone outsmart public transport delays”.
GoMetro can be used to access schedules and announcements even on the most basic of phones – no internet data plan required. GoMetro uses the data collected from our transport mapping programme and our commuter updates to assist national and local government planning and customer service. The GoMetro service can be accessed either via a mobile website, or our apps, and is available in all 11 official languages. Commuters can also access GoMetro’s USSD service by dialling a shortcode *120*4668# (at a cost of 20c) to receive train and bus updates on any phone. Users don’t even require a data-connection to use GoMetro.
GoMetro was recently recognized on the global stage, winning a MEF Award at the Global Mobile Forum in San Francisco, for the Best Innovation in a Growth Market – as well as runner-up at the International Get in the Ring Business Investment Pitching Competition, in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
GoMetro has received support and backing from the Innovation Hub, being a winner of the Gauteng Innovation Competition in 2012, as well as from the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, being part of their 2013 VeloCITI Programme.
GoMetro is designed for older phones, and provides public transport information to commuters in all 11 official languages. This is the first transport app that is truly accessible to all South Africans. Users will be able to choose from Sepedi, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Ndebele, Swati & Afrikaans to get train and bus times for all major cities in South Africa, in their own mother tongue.
GoMetro is grateful to the following organisations that have supported the mapping project: