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In celebration of National Transportation Month in South Africa, data and transport startup GoMetro relaunched this week. Apart from the additional social elements, the startup’s updated product now include information regarding major bus services like Cape Town’s MyCiti and Golden Arrow as well as Johannesburg’s Gautrain and Rea Vaya.
GoMetro’s new app — GoMetroApp — is referred to as the Community for Commuters where people provide each other with information including crowdsourced updates about transport in South Africa.
Whereas the original GoMetro.co.za provides train delay updates and Metrorail schedules, GoMetroApp.com is designed to work with all major modes of public transport in South Africa. Further, GoMetro says that it gives a voice to commuters, by encouraging user participation by means of social media posting, “filling” the information gap in transport operations using crowdsourcing.
Justin Coetzee, GoMetro’s Founder, reassures us that there are moderators monitoring the service at all times, ensuring that there is no one abusing the system or posting unverifiable information. Coetzee says he wants GoMetro to put the power of information in the hands of its users:
We plan to have an accreditation system that curates the content in terms of allowing users to Agree/ Disagree with any update — even if it is posted by an official source. So there is ultimate public accountability. So if a transport mode is announcing that everything is on time — users now have the power to disagree with that statement/announcement.
Commuters without an internet-enabled device can also access the service by relying on GoMetro’s internationally recognised USSD feature which can be used to access schedules, announcements and updates offline.
GoMetro has been gaining a lot of momentum lately after it was named the winning African startup of Get In The Ring (GITR). The major international competition saw the budding company pitch among 2000 other startups for a shot of winning the sum of R15-million. It has then further been named one of the top ten startups of DEMO Africa 2013, as well as PwC’s Vision to Reality Awards.
The crowdsourcing feature will allow the data company to scale internationally more efficiently. GoMetro is looking to implement its service to other metro cities in South Africa including Rustenburg, East London and Port Elizabeth. The company is also aiming to scale to East and West Africa.