Mapped: Cape Town’s confusing informal taxi network

2017-03-13 15:56 - Unathi Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Transport services have been an area of much concern and frustration in South Africa lately, especially with online taxi service Uber and local metered taxies at loggerheads with each other. However, one thing is still clear - taxi drivers provide an outstanding service to people who live in places that some cities’ public transport routes regretfully miss. 

In most parts of the country, commuters mostly depend on minibus "condies" (conductors) shouting out said destinations, but what if you don’t use this form of transport, how do you learn otherwise?

WhereIsMyTransport -  an eight-year-old South African technology startup - has released a map of 567 unique routes driven by minibus every day in Cape Town, providing millions of residents access to fares, routes, and frequency of the taxis.

SEE: Uber SA adds new safety and security measures

"We believe that the information challenge in our cities undermines our infrastructure. We want to make the systems that exist more accessible for everyone,' says co-ordinator of the project, Graeme Leighton.

The project lasted three weeks and saw data collectors travel 13,410 kms, using specially-created mobile tools to capture and track 1,000 routes and to collect important metadata about its operation, on and off-peak times and on the weekends.

The data has been integrated with data for other modes of transport like BRT, bus, and rail – the first time in the world that formal and informal have been digitally integrated on an open platform – and made available on the startup’s open platform.

“The real value of this project and projects like it is not in the map—it’s in the data being openly and dynamically available,” says Madeline Zhu, WIMT spokesperson.

Check out the full details of the WhereIsMyTransport infographic below to see how it works - or click here for a bigger version.

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