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Transport data startup GoMetro has just launched a new mobi site designed with the emerging world, specifically South Africa, in mind. GoMetro Mini, as it’s called, is designed for older mobile phones and will provide public transport information in each of the country’s 11 official languages.
Apart from enabling users to choose from Sepedi, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Ndebele, Swati & Afrikaans to get train and bus times for all major cities in SA, the site is also optimsed to use the minimal amount of data.
GoMetro CEO Justin Coetzee, “Over the last 2 years, we have noticed GoMetro is sometimes the first internet site that a commuter from a township in South Africa will have ever visited. Local transport information is very relevant content for commuters of all languages, and hearing about GoMetro motivates some users to try use the internet for the very first time.”
GoMetro Mini is the brain-child of Reginald Ledwaba, an intern at GoMetro who first observed popular trends on why some people aren’t using the service.
Though GoMetro’s services offer crucial information for a large bulk of SA’s commuters, many still rely on feature phones and are reluctant to spend too much time online because of high data charges. While stats vary, some estimate that of the 40-million active phones in SA, 32-million are feature phones.
“We are particularly proud of the design and thought that has gone into making this a fast yet usable site, saving commuters money on their data usage,” notes Coetzee. “We are also seeking to attract the attention of a mobile network operator, to offer GoMetro to commuters at a zero data charge on a network.”
In December 2014, operators in Metrorail control-centres used the GoMetro Engine to post 52 191 events and service updates, to over 250 000 commuters via apps, a mobisite, a Mxit Channel, a USSD string and SMS. GoMetro has also expanded to include information on the Rea Vaya, MyCiti, Gautrain and Golden Arrow services.
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.