Software developer Justin Coetzee is helping to smooth out the kinks in the public transport system with the launch of his latest product – the GoGauteng app.
Aimed at reducing the stress and frustration that often go hand-in-hand with public transport, GoGauteng follows the award-winning GoMetro app he developed to provide up-to-date information to Cape Town train commuters.
The smartphone apps were developed to provide public transport information, timetables, updates and announcements to commuters and enable users to access information swiftly and easily for them to plan their journey accordingly.
The 29 year old civil engineer and chief executive of GoMetro, started his career building and designing roads.
He says it was then that he realised how public transport forms the backbone of any thriving society and saw first-hand that there was a need for effective communication to commuters.
And so, the GoMetro app was born. Not only was it South Africa’s first real-time public transport app, but it also saw Coetzee clinch the Gauteng Innovation Competition in 2011, a top two finish in IBM Smartcamp Africa and a spot as a finalist in theTech4Africa awards. This year it also forms part of the Cape Town World Design Capital 2014 initiative.
Within the first four months of its launch – which took place only six months after a pilot project appointment was secured with Metrorail – it clocked up 250 000 users. The GoGauteng app has the potential to far exceed the success of its predecessor as other than Metrorail it also includes other modes of transport, such as the Rea Vaya bus system, the Gautrain, Metrobus, Tshwane Bus Services – and soon Putco and Northwest Star as well.
“This is an initiative to build open city data for the use and benefit of Gauteng. Public transport is essential to the sustainability of our growing cities, and we have shown that most users use public transport more frequently because of information available via mobile apps,” says Coetzee.
The app is not only for smartphone owners – standard cellphones have access to the app too, through Mixit and USSD services. It means that you’ll be able to view train times just like you would your airtime. The app is available in the Android, iOS and Blackberry app stores by searching “Gauteng on the Move”.
GoGauteng was developed in partnership with the Gauteng roads and transport department as well as The Innovation Hub.
Coetzee says the “hands-on mentoring” he received from The Innovation Hub and mLab was instrumental in helping him to make the right decisions.
“Any entrepreneur who wants to make a difference in the government space should make The Innovation Hub their first port of call,” says Coetzee. He plans to include to enable commuters to share their travel experiences.