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In developing countries such as South Africa, public transport, despite being used by large portions of the population, often has a disconnect between important information, such as routes, times, delays et al, and it being readily available to commuters. Add to this problem the reach that mobile phones have in developing countries, and startups have the ingredients to create value through smart technological systems.
One such startup, WhereIsMyTransport, has combined these ingredients and created a social transport information portal called FindMyWay, that delivers public transport information (including cost of trips) to commuters via their mobile phones — all for free.
Following a successful beta programme in Cape Town, FindMyWay is launching its services to other major South African cities including Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, offering information for 15 various transport providers across those cities.
Commuters can access the service via the FindMyWay mobi site, or through the recently launched free BlackBerry app, which works on any BlackBerry 7 OS phone.
WhereIsMyTransport launched the service as a beta mobi site back in October 2012 with the intention to better connect people to their city’s public transport systems. Founders Devin de Vries and Chris King aimed to address the lack of a centralised place to find public transport information in South Africa.
“We aim to put everyday transport information at commuters’ fingertips. Our goal is to make public transport more accessible and the experience more enjoyable,” says de Vries.
He adds: “Use of the service via the native apps will provide users with an enhanced and intuitive experience. Going forward we’ll be able to alert them to delays on their commute routes or changes in public transport schedules in a timely manner, for example.”
de Vries hopes that the portal will encourage more people to use public transport which will have a positive environmental and community impact, “people will be able to explore more, reduce their carbon footprint, and be more in touch with their city,” says de Vries.