Grapevine Interactive, a mobile services firm, has launched a free mobile Internet site for Cape Town metro train users of the Southern and Northern lines.
Until now, commuters have found it very difficult to get hold of metro train schedules without either physically being at a station or having access to a computer. Now it’s as easy as picking up a cellphone.
With more commuters shifting from car to train transport as their most cost-effective option, especially due to the recent fuel price hikes, there is an increased demand for rapid access to train timetable data. Although one can access schedules via a PC connected to the Internet, a number of commuters indicated a need for a simple, easy-to-access timetable service on their mobile phones.
Grapevine Interactive’s .mobi site allows anyone with a WAP-capable cellphone to access the standard daily train schedules for the Southern line from Cape Town to Simonstown, and the Northern line from Cape Town to Bellville.
The schedules work in either direction, include all stations in between and take into account week days, weekends and public holidays. Special train times are not included.
The cttrains.mobi site was initially created as a training exercise for new cellphone application developers at Grapevine Interactive, but it soon became apparent that the greater Cape Town community could make use of this easy-to-use tool. Grapevine Interactive has now launched the system to commuters as a free service, except for data charges that may be incurred by the mobile operators.
The public schedules are accurately reproduced by the service, but unfortunately if there are cancellations Grapevine will not be notified about them.
Cliff Court, Grapevine Interactive’s chief technology officer, says in discussing the .mobi site, “Once we had developed the site and had shown it to a few train users, it became clear that this was tremendously useful to them. We then decided to offer the system as a free-of-charge service for commuters.”
Grapevine Interactive has included a feedback option within the .mobi site so that the public can let them know what they think of the site, and how it can be improved for even more convenience. Grapevine Interactive has undertaken to add additional line schedules if the usage of the site is high.