GoMetro, the transport start-up based in Cape Town that maps and reports on public transport in South African cities, has launched a new mobi site designed for the emerging market: GoMetro Mini.

This new version of GoMetro is designed for older phones, and will provide public transport information to commuters in all 11 official languages.

The company believes this is the first transport app that is truly accessible to all South Africans. Users will be able to choose from Sepedi, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Venda, Tsonga, Ndebele, Swati and Afrikaans to get train and
bus times for all major cities in South Africa in their own mother tongue.

GoMetro Mini is optimised to use a minimal amount of data to access the same service as the full site. It is designed to work best with an older Blackberry or a Nokia phone – these market segments which are still very strong in South Africa.

GoMetro Mini is the brain-child of Reginald Ledwaba, an intern working for GoMetro, who championed the idea and led its rapid development at the end of 2014.

After observing that high data charges were preventing commuters from accessing GoMetro, the CEO Justin Coetzee challenged Ledwaba to build a multi-lingual and simplified version of the site that is optimised for these older devices, and for people who would not have accessed the internet at all yet. Ledwaba was able to complete this project in less than 20 days – and it is this product that GoMetro is launching to the public.

GoMetro has received support and backing from the Innovation Hub, being a winner of the Gauteng Innovation Competition in 2012, as well as from the Bandwidth Barn in Cape Town, being part of their 2013 VeloCITI Programme.

In December 2014, operators in Metrorail control centres used the GoMetro Engine to post 52 191 events and service updates, to over 250 000 commuters via apps, a mobisite, a Mxit Channel, a USSD string and SMS. GoMetro has also expanded to include information on the Rea Vaya, MyCiti, Gautrain and Golden Arrow services.