GoMetro is a mobile app for City Travellers in South Africa who use public transport. We provide information on train times, line announcements and updates on what is happening in Metrorail in the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Now that Spring has finally sprung and the school holidays are within sight, what better way to enjoy things than with a good old s’timela ride? We’ve rounded up five of the best depending on your vibe,so take your pick and get on board for Spring! Woza Summer!
For the beach bum
Few things beat the Metrorail Simon’s Town to Cape Town train for getting you into that Summer feeling for hardly any money. This train ride skirts through the various Southern Suburbs en route to the coast. But the real ‘wow factor’ happens when you approach Muizenberg. From there, the train runs just metres from the shimmering blue ocean all the way to Simon’s Town and back. Make like GoMetro’s very own graphic designer Marnus who says that for a healthy and sunny, sandy day of fun he and his wife “drive down to Simon’s Town and get on the train at the little, quiet train station there. Then we travel up to Muizenberg beach per train and enjoy the walk back to Simon’s Town along the beach. We stop at market places along the way and when we’re tired we just get back on the train to Simon’s Town.”
Keen for another kind of rail ride with a bit more cultural enrichment? Then check out the Rovos Rail route from Pretoria to Durban. The journey takes three days and includes excursions to a Big Five reserve and KwaZulu Natal battlefields. The trip between the two cities takes in some remarkable scenery and details the region’s fascinating history, making this a unique South African rail journey.
For the hipster
For those who’d rather ride in a history lesson, check out the Cape Town to Ceres journey by the little train company that could, the oh-so-indie Ceres Rail Company. On this one, you will ride in an actual vintage locomotive that looks straight out of an Agatha Christie on a train track dating back to 1912 (yeah… just don’t think about it too much. No one we know of has, um, been Agatha Christie’d on this journey and it’s seriously fun.) With quirky details like all the trains having names like Jessica and Bailey (no, no Thomas) and also different events throughout the year to make your trip extra special like seasonal trips to view the wild flowers – what better way to welcome Spring?
For the beautiful scenery lover
Another journey that takes place on a vintage rail road is the Atlantic Rail ride from Stellenbosch to Cape Town. But despite using a 1929 locomotive, the real star of this show is the scenery. The views en route to the famous wine town of Stellenbosch offer stunning views of wine farms and the statuesque Hottentots Hollands mountains. It arrives close to Stellies’ town centre and allows enough time to explore before returning, perfect for a warm weather day.
For the budget guru
We’ve all heard of the Blue Train here in SA, but almost no one actually knows someone who’s ridden on it. That’s because the Blue Train is amazing but frikkin’ expensive. If you want some flash but not too much cash, try the Shosholoza Meyl Cape Town to Johannesburg trip. They take exactly the same route as the Blue Train for this journey, through the same scenery, for a fraction of the price. Shosholoza Meyl also offers the opportunity to bed down in comfortable sleeper carriages and, while it’s certainly no Blue Train, it can give real bang for your buck of you’re after sightseeing and not champagne.
What say you, GoMetropolitans? Keen for a train ride with us? Let us know what your favourite ways are to welcome Spring, and as always have a great week!
Imagine getting ready for work, hopping into a cab to take you to the train station, riding to your work neighbourhood and then grabbing a bus ride to your office’s door and paying… nothing. Absolutely nothing. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe and maybe not. There are numerous arguments for and against public transport, and some are pretty complex.
The arguments for
Most people seem to really like the idea of free public transport because, generally, it’s a cool idea. It sounds like a wonderful gesture of goodwill from a government to its citizens.
Another, more compelling reason to instate free transport is that it can do a lot to reduce the cars on the road and, simultaneously, cut down on pollution, commuter times and road rage. Basically, the environment would be happier and citizens would be less stressed. If that free public transport system worked, of course.
Sounds good. And besides, people don’t pay for other basic needs, do they? Like having public parks, working street lights and government hospitals, do we?
The arguments against
… Actually, we do. And that’s not the only problem with free public transport.
The first one you’ve probably guessed – every case study we found of free pubic transport took place in a developed country. Every single one. Countries such as Brazil, South Africa and India simply don’t have the well-established long-standing infrastructure (and taxpayer base) to pull it off.
The argument in developed countries such as the USA is that if public transport suddenly became free then the huge surge in commuters and hometown tourists would break the system with a volume of people that trains, busses and trams couldn’t cope with. Making something free without the proper planning in place would likely make congestion worse rather than better (just check out Bucharest in Romania in our previous blog on traffic). We’re talking three hours late to work here, people. I mean, you could always use GoMetro’s app to tell your boss you’ll be late – but do that every day and what do you think will happen?
… And creating the infrastructure that would allow these to cope is another story again. Currently the fares for a transportation mode pay for that mode’s upkeep, like routine maintenance on trains and the like. In SA, approximately 10 percent of people who should be paying taxes are covering the burden for the 90 that aren’t. And they’re already mad. After the NHI, Gordhan’s sugar tax and all the other hoops to jump through, asking them to pay for transport might just be the last straw.
And then there’s the riots. Considering the taxi riots that started after Uber drivers landed in SA (there are still no Uber drivers in most of KZN due to only this reason) can you imagine what the fallout would be from taxis if the train and busses were free? Pandemonium.
A possible silver lining
All of the above talks to SA as a nation – but what about certain very specific areas of it? After all, the first-ever free public transport system wasn’t in the USA as a nation, it was in Mercer County in the US. In fact, to this day almost every free public transport system, with the exception of Estonia’s capital city Tallinn, is located in a small to medium-sized town with less tourists than its surrounds and a well-developed, insular infrastructure. Great examples include Colomiers in France, Avesta in Sweden and Torshavn in the Faroe Islands (know them? Yeah, us neither.)
So, the infrastructure and taxpaying base in Durban might be out of the question – but what about Umhlanga? A tightknit, insular, well-off community with its own Urban Improvement Precinct to take care of everything from crime to potholes for residents. And the taxi riots may be unimaginable in Pretoria, but what about in the Cape Town city bowl? These kinds of areas having a small, localised free transport offering could be an important showcase for individuals to push their government for real value for their taxes.
What do you think, GoMetropolitans? Good idea, bad idea? Let us know and, as always, have a stunningly mobile week!
The Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) is hosting this year’s SAVCA Venture Capital Industry Forum the week after next at the swanky Sandton Convention Centre, and guess who’s on the menu? One of the chief case studies to be focused on on the night is GoMetro, which gets its own slot as one of only two case studies for the entire evening.
GoMetro was highlighted by SAVCA in last year’s annual SAVCA survey – a tremendous honour for a startup. It’s got us thinking about the vital role venture capital plays in getting a country’s transport, and economy, going at full speed. So we thought we’d share some love with the venture capitalists today.
What is venture capital?
Venture capital is a type of private equity (a type of investing) that is characterised by its long-term financing provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging companies and startups deemed to have high growth potential. These venture capital firms will take on a new or growing company and provide funding in exchange for a return later on once that company grows into its potential.
One of the greatest things about venture capital culture and procedure is that its about a nurturing relationship. It’s not just some faceless suits in a corporation across the Atlantic handing out pocket money. These are experts in how to make a business starting out go from good to great, and they invest not only money but time, expertise, education and their own savvy in making the CEO and staff of that company highly skilled at making it a profitable business.
Why is it important for transport?
As you can imagine from the description, venture capital is a potent form of funding that helps promising startups become even more promising. And startups are the key to keeping any industry, including transport, nimble and on the cutting edge of innovation. Just look at what the hotel industry was like before Airbnb came along: stale, comfort zoned, had been operating the same way for decades. But when a startup without the same legacy systems innovated and came up with an entirely new strategy (an accommodation tycoon that doesn’t own any property or hotels?!) then things started to shift and the big boys had to begin innovating too to stay competitive.
There are plenty of example of this, like Target Global announcing in June that it plans to Private equity too is hot in the game, with funds like the Isibaya fund of the PIC (Public Investment Corporation) investing in commuter transportation and the Stanlib African Infrastructure Private Equity Fund taking seed capital (sort of a start-up ‘float’ amount in private equity and venture capital jargon) to raise an additional R500m from Institutional investors which will then be channelled back into South African new-build infrastructure projects, with the remainder to be invested across Sub Saharan Africa.
As you can imagine, this is especially important in a country where state-funded infrastructure improvements can be erratic, slow in coming or even fraught with scandal. In Uganda, for example, the country got a major boost from USA-based private equity firm Blackstone investing billions into the construction of a dam.
How it helps the economy
This in turn of course effects the economy – not just in the usual ways that infrastructure improvements do. Venture capital and private equity investment can mean better roads, better transport options on those roads, and that can mean more face to face meetings. And face to face meetings mean more business done in a country. Tech Crunch published a fascinating article last year that had this to say:
“Research we undertook over the last year was… showed that better infrastructure links between investors and portfolio, in the shape of a new direct airline route in this instance, led to an increase in face to face interactions between investors and portfolio businesses due to the comparative time and cost saved. The results for those portfolios with increased face to face time highlighted that the number of patents filed rose by three percent, and the citations per patent rose by almost 6 percent, indicating an increased quantity and quality of innovation.”
This is not just applicable to air travel, but to things like train and bus infrastructure as well – something GoMetro is proud to help shape. And thanks to venture capital and private equity, we can do that much more to make SA a better, more mobile place. Thank you venture capital!
Here at GoMetro, we are all about improving the way you move and, every now and then, an item in the news warms our heart with the good work some in SA are doing to further that too. It reminds us that ‘improving moving’ is not just about getting the average commuter to work on time or seamlessly integrating transport options – it is a grand equaliser that can offer people dignity, hope and a future where there was none.
Nowhere is this more pertinent than with the disabled. While many of us experience irritation with transport According to the South African Board for People Practises, 4.3 percent of SA is disabled. A 2011 national census had sadder figures – a disability prevalence of 7.5 percent in the country. That means arguably more than 4 million South Africans do not have a right to an equal life of employment, education, healthcare and respect.
The World Bank put it really well in an article in 2015: “For many persons with disabilities, this is a daily struggle that is all too real: a large proportion of urban and inter-urban transport systems remain either completely off-limits or incredibly difficult to use for passengers with disabilities, turning even the shortest trip into a logistical nightmare.
“Mobility constraints are a major obstacle to disability-inclusive development, as they exacerbate the economic, social, and personal isolation of persons with disabilities, and tend to push them further into poverty.
“But the opposite is also true: coupled with interventions in other areas, mobility improvements can go a long way in changing the lives of persons with disabilities for the better. ‘You have to think of transport as an equalizer, a catalyst that facilitates access to many other sectors,’ said Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, the World Bank’s Global Advisor on Disability. ‘Mobility improvements are key because transport gives you access to jobs, schools, healthcare, markets, leisure.’”
This is why we were really happy to see a great organisation acknowledged recently by the government – GO GEORGE. The GO GEORGE bus service was showcased as example at national disability rights meeting recently, as reported by RNEWS.
The GO GEORGE bus service was presented as a case study of the integrated public transport network that has made most progress in moving towards universal access (UA) in public transport at the annual National Disability Rights Machinery (NDRM) meeting recently held in Pretoria, and attended by key government officials, reviews progress and discusses legislation, action programmes and future developments on the rights of people with disabilities.
According to Amanda Gibberd, responsible for universal design and universal access in the National Department of Transport, the Department recommended that GO GEORGE be chosen as the best example to present at the meeting.
“GO GEORGE is the integrated public transport network (IPTN) that has showed the most progress in reaching universal accessible public transport, with the smallest amount of grant funding of all the 13 IPTN municipalities receiving funding. GO GEORGE has demonstrated commitment and dedication to implementing an accessible transport system for the entire municipal network and continues to improve the passenger journey and experience. That is what we notice and appreciate, and what we wanted to convey to the other stakeholders at the NDRM meeting,” she said.
According to James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, the meeting went very well – the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services particularly commended GO GEORGE for elements like the ReadSpeaker function on their website which helps those with visual disabilities.
“They encouraged continued consideration of these kinds of communication aids. The disability sector made a renewed call upon stakeholders to be consulted when planning UA elements, which we fully support. As a matter of fact, consulting people with disabilities when designing and refining the GO GEORGE service and accessibility elements has become part of the process,” said Robb.
What we love about Go George is that it’s another stakeholder that is helping us live up to our amazing constitution. Under South African law and in terms of international commitments that have been made, passengers with different ways of moving (children, young people, the elderly, people with disabilities, people carrying babies or shopping, pregnant women, etc.) must be able to use public transport services with dignity. This has not been a reality for a long time for disabled South Africans, and we have a ways yet to catch up on privatised innovations that favour the disabled happening elsewhere, such as in London where Uber offers a range of accessibility features for people with vision impairments, mobility issues or who are deaf or hard of hearing, like the UberWAV app for wheelchair users and UberASSIST which helps to train drivers on how to accommodate assistive technology, such as wheelchairs and scooters.
… And now a hardworking local initiative is getting some recognition too. Viva Go George, viva!
Here at GoMetro, we love chatting to our friends at the press, like we’ve done quite a bit lately. It got us thinking that you fantastic GoMetropolitans may not know about all the awesomeness that is happening in GoMetro and in the rest of Africa. So this sunny Monday morning, we thought we’d fill you in.
Firstly, GoMetro is getting to know and love this amazing continent we call home even better! As we told the journalists at Ventureburn, we have been shortlisted for several projects in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania. Having already worked in Tunisia and other African countries (as well as in London and other parts of Europe) we are very excited about the opportunity to help shape the future of transportation on the continent many thought leaders are calling the place to be in 10 to 20 years’ time. Working in places like Nigeria and Tanzania is going to be a dream come true for us, and for Africa too.
Speaking of Tanzania, GoMetro was honoured to be invited recently to the 2018 Mobilize Dar Summit in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. It was an amazing conference with attendees from more than 60 cities and 30 countries, all talking together about how to accelerate and modernise Africa’s transportation systems. We had a great time and found several parties very interested in what we do, with plenty of requests for meetings with GoMetro following the summit, so watch this space!
But that’s not all – GoMetro has been working hard at home, and it’s getting noticed. Just two months after our industry-changing GoMetro Pro app was launched – which allows anyone with the app to change the way a transportation system moves for the better – we found ourselves at the 2018 i-Transport & UATP Go Green – Go Smart conference here in SA. Rubbing shoulders with Metcedes Benz, MaaS Africa and ITS Africa was enough, but we got nominated for an award too! GoMetro was shortlisted for the prestigious biennial ITS Award for Excellence along with Rea Vaya and Mobility Centre Africa. For a private startup business to be listed in the same category as a company like Rea Vaya with over 300 operators on their books and powerful owners like Putco – that was amazing for us. It proves our message behind the GoMetro Pro to be true – that anyone can make a difference, big or small. Thank you, Go Green – Go Smart!
That’s not all we’re up to, but those are some of the highlights. Phew, it gets us excited just reading this list! What are you up to today, GoMetropolitans? Any specific projects in Africa you would love for GoMetro to tackle? Let us know!
The guys over at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in America are doing great work in terms of research for mobility and sustainable transportation – particularly looking at the public sector. What relevance can first world US graduates’ research have for us, you ask? Well, one of their latest research infographics focuses on a topic quite close to South Africans’ hearts: inequality.
Less usage of public transportation is directly correlated to more pollution and inequality. Why? It’s safe to assume that people who need to commute will use their own individual automobiles, which leads to more pollution. The future of commuting via public transit is supported by leveraging technology to promote savings and sustainability. The energy and cost efficiency of the public transportation system directly affects urban cities, whether positively or negatively.
The pollution idea is super understandable, but inequality? Sure – it makes sense when you think about it. Price of anything is driven by demand. The less public transportation there is, the more traffic there will be as the ‘haves’ use their private vehicles and the ‘have nots’ use informal public transport. The more traffic there is, the more demand there will be to live in urban areas that negate long travel times, in the places everyone is rushing to i.e. Cape Town’s city bowl, Sandton, Braamfontein, Umhlanga. This drives the price of these areas up and soon anyone not privileged enough will be relegated to ‘poorer’ areas outside the charmed inner circle. Anyone whose seen the movie In Time will know just how unfair this can get if we let it.
So what can we do about it? A lot, it turns out.
Efficient public transport is one great equaliser of this because it cuts down on traffic via number of vehicles on the road dramatically. There are more benefits too. Carbon emissions can be significantly lowered when passengers choose to use more sustainable forms of transportation, such as walking and cycling. This will improve air quality in the area as well as lower carbon emissions. There are more benefits to this type of sustainable transportation. In addition to reduced CO2 emissions, this will create jobs and further support the local economy. One part of the world is already benefiting from employing more sustainable modes of transportation. In Bogota, Colombia, over 250,000 tons of carbon dioxide have been prevented from polluting the environment each year since 2000. This was achieved by using the city’s TransMilenio bus rapid transit system (BRT). An added benefit was the creation of 1,900 to 2,900 new jobs in Bogota.
Energy usage in the United States and greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through increased usage of public transportation. Pollutant emissions inevitably lead to poor air quality as well as energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, is a system that helps reduce the impact on the environment. It involves a combination of strategies for the purpose of improved flow in transit systems.
For example, Smart Cities can be used for the purpose of maintaining the health of the environment of a busy, mobile populace. For Smart Mobility to occur, it’s necessary to develop seamless multimodal access. Clean mobility options as well as developing integrated technologies help promote an easy way to pay a fare and plan your itinerary. When it comes to employing cleaner fuel technologies, the public transportation sector is always among the first to adopt innovative fuel innovations. Of all the bus fleets in the United States, 21.7% use compressed natural gas or CNC.
The American Public Transit Association (APTA) and the Near Field Communication Forum (NFC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding public transportation. The memorandum is an agreement by both two entities to work together to educate the industry at-large regarding how to support public transportation operations.
Paying fares wirelessly is one effort that has encouraged the use of public transportation and made it more convenient. By applying NFC technology, a connection is made between the wireless payment reader and your mobile device. There are at least two companies on board to assist with the development of these technology platforms. These platforms will help automate and optimize operations and on-demand services that support fixed-route fleets with a great deal of occupants.
But really, possibilities and different types of solutions are just about endless, if you’re committed enough to giving people their equality back… What do you think, GoMetropolitans? We say, power to the people! So have a powerful, awesome week.
Sometimes we think that part and parcel of living in a developing country is infrastructure and transport that isn’t always up to the same standard as first world stuff. But what if times they are a’changing?
Business Insider recently had a fascinating article about Amazon drone research and what it means for train maintenance. The article talked about the fact that Amazon is heavily investing in drones, and one day hopes to use the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to revolutionise deliveries.
It’s all still early stages — but public patent filings can offer us tantalising glimpses of what Amazon’s engineers are thinking about and experimenting as they develop the tech.
While this may have Sci-Fi connotations for getting a pizza delivery, the implications extend all the way to your morning train commute. Apparently, a key problem facing any drone deliveries is batteries and maintenance. When your drones are in the shop getting fixed, they’re not helping you make any money — so how do you keep them charged and in the air for as long as possible? Here Amazon’s new patents come in – a possible solution could be a fleet of mobile maintenance facilities based on trains and other modes of transportation.
This is what Amazon’s patent filing published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office said:
“Intermodal vehicles may be loaded with items and an aerial vehicle, and directed to travel to areas where demand for the items is known or anticipated. The intermodal vehicles may be coupled to locomotives, container ships, road tractors or other vehicles, and equipped with systems for loading one or more items onto the aerial vehicle, and for launching or retrieving the aerial vehicle while the intermodal vehicles are in motion. The areas where the demand is known or anticipated may be identified on any basis, including but not limited to past histories of purchases or deliveries to such areas, or events that are scheduled to occur in such areas. Additionally, intermodal vehicles may be loaded with replacement parts and/or inspection equipment, and configured to conduct repairs, servicing operations or inspections on aerial vehicles within the intermodal vehicles, while the intermodal vehicles are in motion.”
So, Amazon is exploring the idea of building special facilities that can store, repair, and deploy drones, and pre-emptively moving products and drones to areas of anticipated demand (based on seasonal trends, say, or a special event in the area) before launching them. Proof? Amazon has also previously filed for a patent for a beehive-like tower for storing its fleets of drones — or as it calls it, a “multi-level fulfilment centre for unmanned aerial vehicles.”
Now, all this is years away, but this could mean amazing things for developing countries’ infrastructure way down the line. Why? Because it takes shortage of skilled labour or cost of labour out of the equation for countries that have budget constraints, potential corruption constraints and specialised skills shortages – all obstacles South Africa is arguably facing. We all remember the difficulties surrounding creating infrastructure for the 2010 Word Cup – what if drones had been involved? Who knows how much easier, faster and more effective things would have been?
What’s even better is that because we’re arguably talking a new kind of maintenance, it would not take any jobs away from people.
So what do you think, GoMetropolitans? Good idea, bad idea, interesting idea? Let us know and have great weeks!
Cape Town is fairly unique in South Africa for its wide-spread, functional railway service that stretches throughout the city and all the way out to Sea Point. Up in Johannesburg, the Gautrain is unique too in its upmarket, first-class rail experience.
But what if these could be better? We’ve been thinking about all things railway this week and have been looking at how some other countries in the world do it – plus what no one seems to have offered yet. So, here are three things that we hope to see on SA’s trains soon:
Renewable energy for trains
In Melbourne, Australia, it was announced in 2017 that the city’s trams will soon be solar-powered – and there are rumours that their trains will be too. In Istanbul, Turkey, there are miniature turbines at certain stations between train tracks, which are powered by the windspeed created as the trains pass each other and that generates power that goes towards running that train station. This kind of green gas-fighting technology is perfect for a city like Cape Town, with plenty of residents who care deeply for the environment, and ensures a sustainable rail system for years to come.
Electric busses and a ‘cross sell’
Vienna has had them since 2015, in May this year they were even launched in Kolkata, India… electric buses are a practical way to preserve the environment and a great, socially responsible way to get commuters to places where trains can’t. Wouldn’t it be awesome to get off your train at Rondebosch, for example, only to have an electric train waiting to take you to the stadium so you can watch the game? With free WiFi (another thing that could be really great on trains, we think), the system could become so sophisticated in time that it could, hypothetically, be integrated with Google Maps or whatever so that someone can plan a journey through various forms of transportation online and order them while they go. Now that’s multimodal, smart mobility.
A ‘buddy’ system
Okay, this is one we haven’t seen anywhere in the world, but we think it’s an amazingly good idea. For any tourist or newcomer, the public transport systems of anywhere are a lot to take in and can seem overwhelmingly complex. We think it would be amazing for the government or train services or someone to come up with a rating-based system (kind of like Uber) where someone can offer friendly help and assistance to someone who looks lost in exchange for points that lead to rewards, such as discounts on their next train ticket. Because the system works both ways on ratings, it prevents someone abusing the system and other people. From here, it’s pretty easy to turn people into brand ambassadors for our train systems – they could send snapshots showing how they picked up litter, for example, or reported a crime, for more rewards.
Well, we’re hyped… What do you think, GoMetropolitans? What would you like to see on our trains? Let us know and have upwardly mobile weeks!
With Google and Uber’s self driving vehicles tearing up tracks for some time now and Daimler and BMW combining their car-sharing services DriveNow and Car2Go, it seems self driving cars are going ahead. Even VW is getting in on it now. But what about here in South Africa?
We love innovation, but self driving innovation might not quite be for SA just yet. Here’s six reasons why:
One simple roadblock (ha ha) that self driving cars face in South Africa is simply that we are still a developing nation and self driving cars are at least at first guaranteed to be prohibitively expensive. In a country where owning an ordinary car is a luxury, owning one that can drive itself is not likely to be too common.
Again, self driving cars are the invention of first world nations, in which pretty much all portions of the population have been driving for more than three generations. It remains to be seen whether or not the predictive software in self driving vehicles will be able to handle decidedly unpredictable driving, such as taxis stopping suddenly, pedestrians running into the road and more.
Infrastructure and good roads
A self-driving car is not likely to be made for South Africans by South Africans any time soon and, therefore, it stands to reason that most self driving cars won’t know to swerve around potholes and the like.
Similarly linked to the infrastructure problem is the internet problem. According to Wheels24, experts tell us that 5G (download speeds up to 10 gigabits per second) is the minimum requirement for self driving cars to function optimally. Only 5G will enable the connectivity needed for autonomous vehicles to be able to make imperative split-second decisions instead of sending and receiving data from a server hundreds of kilometres away. Clearly, developing countries have some way to go before this happens.
This is an interesting one. South Africa enjoys a surprisingly on-form insurance industry, and in particular our vehicle insurance options are numerous. But vehicle insurance has since time immemorial been structured towards covering whomever is driving the vehicle. With the vehicle driving itself, all kinds of questions come up, like who must pay in the event of a claim. There is a fascinating article mentioning it here.
One of the reasons GoMetro believes in innovative ridesharing solutions is that it generally means less vehicles on roads, not more. With more vehicles come more traffic and, especially with driverless cars, the tendency for people to live further and further from work. That means longer stuck in traffic, which is not great even if you aren’t driving, and other side effects like unhealthy prolonged exposure to car fumes.
… What do you think, GoMetropolitans? Self driving cars in SA: good idea? bad idea? Let us know and, as always, have an awesomely mobile week!
Last week we spoke about the benefits of walking to work (it’s a great post, though we say so ourselves, read it here) and probably had a lot of you thinking: ‘yeah but that’s just not feasible for my lifestyle’.
Well, because lifestyles vary but also because literally everyone benefits from a little exercise in the ol’ work commute, we’ve rounded up some practical ways and tips to incorporate this into your lifestyle:
If you work in a big office space or office park – Park in the farthest parking from the entrance you need to use to get to work. This is less effective but, if you must drive to work and home, this will still get you a little of the benefits. Bonus: take the stairs instead of the lift. Bonus bonus: talk to a shop or other business down the road and negotiate a parking there so you can walk up the road to work.
If you stay within a 5km radius of work – You can walk or cycle to work. Doesn’t matter if you’re unfit, if you hate exercise, or whatever. Just try it a couple of times, and leave extra early on those days. If you’re nervous about crime, stats show that most crime happens from midday onwards until about 8pm (hey, maybe criminals need their beauty sleep) so put a pepper spray in your bag and get a lift home with a colleague after work.
If you have a colleague that stays near you – Walk to that colleague’s house in the morning and get a lift in. You may not even know all your colleagues or where they live, so ask around. This one has a lot of benefits – not only are you getting the exercise benefit, but you’re also developing more meaningful bonds with someone in your office space, another thing proven to reduce work-related stress.
If you take the train – Get off one stop early, or late. Chances are that if you’re doing this, you’ve already got some walking in your life – good! Studies have proven that more exercise helps more to counteract stress, high blood pressure and unhealthy emotional responses to work. This is not feasible for all trains or all commuters, but just try it out once or twice – even that mix-up in routine can be like a breath of fresh air.
If you take a taxi – The same applies. Ask to be dropped one street early, or significantly down the road. Every but helps, but greater distances (that only take about ten minutes to walk) help far more.
A couple of tips, whatever way you try – Take a backpack with your work shoes in and wear running shoes when you walk or cycle. Put talc powder on your underarms liberally before leaving home and get the best roll-on you can afford and stick that in your backpack too. The key to making this work is to arrive at the office early.
And that’s it! Which method are you going to try, GoMetropolitan? Let us know how it goes and, as always, have an awesomely mobile week!