How Apps Are Changing South Africa’s Transport System

How Apps Are Changing South Africa’s Transport System

From BBC News.

Getting around without your own car in South Africa can drive you crazy, pardon the pun.

But a new range of cab-hailing applications for smartphones, which use GPS positioning to connect you to the closest cabs, is making it easier to move around, according to a report by Leonie Erasmus.

Snappcab, Zapacab, Afta Robot and Go Metro are all examples of local mobile platforms to serve South Africa’s diverse commuters.

Zapacab became South Africa’s first cab-hailing mobile platform when it launched in August.

“People are using their phones in smarter and smarter ways,” said Rupert Sully, founder of Zapacab, in the BBC News report.

He says the number of Zapacab users from different demographics is “testimony to this wave that’s growing in Africa at the moment, this upsurge of technology, particularly in mobile.”

Snappcab launched shortly after Zapacab. Its managing director, Anton van Metzinger, said safety is paramount.

Snappcab tells passengers the drivers’ names and also allows commuters to know what their driver and the car look like.

The app also allows the commuter to contact the driver directly and plot the driver’s headway on a map on their smartphone.

The entire trip is on record with Snappcab, providing an extra sense of security and preventing dodgy detours from taking place, the report said.

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Zapacab’s Sully says that their drivers are preselected and have received some training, but there are challenges. Introducing the app is not just a “plug and play” process.

“(Drivers) are very comfortable with the whole concept that these markets are becoming more tech-savvy, but just to teach them how to use smartphone interfaces that we place in their cars is a unique challenge,” Sully said.

Read more at BBC News.