GoMetro launches printed bus map for Bellville

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South African public transport app GoMetro has mapped all transport routes around the Cape Town suburb of Belville as a proof of concept for its innovative new mapping techniques.

GoMetro has been actively rolling out new features and innovations in recent weeks, including an “Email My Boss” functionality, which allows commuters stuck on delayed trains to prove to their employer the cause of their late arrival to work, and GoMetro Mini, a mobi site designed for older phones and available to commuters in all of South Africa’s 11 official languages.

The latest is the map for minibus taxi and bus routes in and around Belville, with GoMetro inviting other cities and provinces in South Africa to participate in the mapping initiative by reaching out to the startup to find out more about the GoMetro Mapper technology

“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 – minibus taxi information has remained difficult to capture and produce,” the company said.

“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.”

The company said it had been innovating a new mapping technique for minibus taxi and bus route mapping using smartphones and ground teams. The team spent the last three months of 2014 mapping 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,” GoMetro said.

“Over the course of 100 days, the team rode all buses, trains and taxis that access the Bellville Public Transport Terminal in order to build a complete map of public transport to and from Bellville.”

Wesley Diphoko, GoMetro head of mapping, said: “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, and displays the routes of all modes of transport, presenting how commuters can access the rest of the greater Cape Town area from Bellville Transport Hub.

The map also illustrates fare cost information for all modes of transport in Bellville as of February 2015.

Justin Coetzee, chief executive officer (CEO) of GoMetro, said: “The world is urbanising 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.”

GoMetro will over the coming weeks distribute the map 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 revitalisation of an important node in Cape Town,” the startup said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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