This week South Africa got its first public transport system on Google’s legendary Google Transit service. This means that users are now able to use Google Maps on their mobile phones or personal computer to plan a route with built in schedules and routes. This may sound funny to our international readers, as they may have become accustomed to using this service every single day of their lives to travel in their cities. So in a city where the majority of citizens use public transport to get between places, this comes as great news to them.
This also comes at a good time when the MyCiTi team is launching new routes on 2 November. This should make public transport more appealing to new users, while providing information in a more useful format to current users. However, realising that many South Africans may not have mobile phones supporting Google Maps on their mobiles, the MyCiTi still provides route and schedule information through their MyCiTibus.Mobi site which is accessible on most internet-enabled phones.
You may think that this is the first public transport system in Africa on Google Maps, but you will be wrong. Lagos’s Lagbus already had their services on Google Maps, while Tunisia’s National Rail services can also be found on it. Africa still lags behind other international cities with easily accessible public transport services information.
What Cape Town needs now is to get Metrorail, the city ‘s rail service, to also upload their routes and timetable info to Google Transit as this will truely make public transport information accessible to everyone. So hey Metrorail, Google provides simple steps on how to get the information on Google Transit. However, we do like your GoMetro service, which will still be required just like MyCiTi’s .Mobi site.