Cape Town Start-up Reveals Africa’s First Travel App to Integrate All Forms of Transport
Innovate South Africa presents a showcase of young innovators who are shaping our country.
Leveraging the WhereIsMyTransport (WIMT) platform, commuters and tourists to the city can now plan routes incorporating all of the city’s forms of transport with just a click on their mobile phones. The new TCT app will also allow commuters to locate places of interest, local businesses, and sightseeing destinations, as well as make it easy for them to communicate with the city about concerns over service and travel conditions and receive travel alerts.
On the eve of its second birthday, TCT is the first city-wide integrated transport authority on the continent, and it is fitting that their new app is multimodal: passengers can easily navigate across rail, Cape Town’s historic passenger bus system, the city’s new state-of-the-art Bus Rapid Transport system, and all other forms of transportation. The WIMT platform allows the city to provide efficient, time- and cost-effective routes for users to and from any point, including points of interest, historical sites, and local businesses. The app is available for free download on mobile devices using Apple, Blackberry, Windows, and Android platforms.
“For the first time, it’s possible to plan a whole route with a single question: ‘How do I get to X on time?’ No more switching between modes or checking timetables. TCT: a single answer to a single question,” says Devin de Vries, the co-Founder and CEO of WhereIsMyTransport.
Devin participated in the Cape IT Initiative Enterprise Development’s VeloCiTi programme at the Bandwidth Barn in 2009 where he learnt the fundamentals of running a start-up.
When asked about his experience of the VeloCiTi programme and what his biggest learnings were, this is what Devin said: “The VeloCiTi programme provided a good foundation for us to build from. It also fostered our early network within the ICT and Start-up space.”
Commuters can also easily locate stations and kiosks to purchase or maintain their travel cards. The total estimated cost of any given route is given, allowing those using public transport to make informed decisions about how to travel (including foregoing their cars, which will reduce congestion and emissions). De Vries continues: “Making public transport a frictionless process, TCT lowers the barrier to enter the system and makes public transport appealing and accessible for people of all types, especially those who usually cling to their private vehicles because of the lack of information on routes and schedules.”
“Furthermore, the app will inform you of useful places along the way such as accommodation, restaurants, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, fuelling stations and police stations. It can find places of interest close to you and keep you informed of these en route. Once residents get the hang of it, they will not only use the app to move around the city, but also to explore their city,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member: Transport for Cape Town, Councillor Brett Herron.
Most importantly, though, the TCT app is an active platform for citizen engagement around issues of transport: users are just a swipe away from reporting vandalism, poor service, or equipment failure, allowing them to bring their ideas and concerns directly to their city for redress. Commuters can also easily receive notification about service delays, traffic advisories, or any other road work or detours. The app provides a strong, immediate connection between the residents of the city and their representatives to insure that their experience travelling is as smooth and convenient as possible. As de Vries puts it “TCT fosters citizen-city engagement by increasing access and inclusion to public transport for all users, bringing in new users and enriching the experience of existing ones through convenient, timely, seamless information.”
“The development of this app is indicative of the City’s commitment to cutting edge technological solutions in times of increasing urbanisation where mobility is crucial if we are to realise our full potential. It also creates a platform for the City and the residents to communicate with one another about transport related issues. This app is guaranteed to be a game changer in how we use public transport and interact with each other,” said Councillor Herron.
WhereIsMyTransport is a South African born technology start-up focused on public transport solutions designed to serve the needs of cities, operators, and commuters. Beginning as an Honours project at the University of Cape Town, WIMT has grown into a local transport-technology powerhouse that is proud to be collaborating with the city on a project that serves their target audience. Providing unique, integrated computing tools to all three elements of a transport ecosystem, WIMT enables intelligent, connected cities to communicate with and serve their citizens while including and empowering all types of transport operators to also interface with their customers and the cities that support them. The result is a re-imagining of public transport, where cities fulfill their mandated collaboration with operators, and both in turn are in a direct communication with commuters, fostering transparency, accountability, and co-operation throughout the entire process of travelling from A to B. “Now, everyone can explore and navigate the city, long-time residents and visitors alike. Travel to a well-known destination, or discover a hidden gem: the city is at your fingertips.”
When asked about the support that Devin received from the Cape IT Initiative’s support ecosystem, Devin said, “The Bandwidth Barn is a place where you could always return for advice. It is a place to bounce ideas with trusted individuals and meet with people who understand where your journey began.”
Devin is effusive in his praise of the The Bandwidth Barn and CiTi’s ecosystem, and highly recommends it to other young aspiring entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, not merely tech. “It is important to interact, share your problems and understand that you are not alone in experiencing the day-to-day challenges along what is often a lonely road to walk,” concludes Devin.
A gallery of 9 high-res images of the app running on a commuter’s mobile device.
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Co-founders LinkedIn Profiles:
Devin de Vries – http://www.linkedin.com/in/devindevries
Chris King – http://www.linkedin.com/in/chris85