South African public transport data and technology startup WhereIsMyTransport recently announced that it will expand its geographical cover to include Southeast Asian and Latin American cities. This comes following $1.85 million funding from Liil Ventures and Goodwell Investments.
Founded in 2016, the South African startup aims to make it easier to navigate emerging cities using public transport by making data more accessible. In 2017, the team launched its first platform by creating a map of Cape Town’s most actively-run taxi routes. Shortly after, WhereIsMyTransport mapped formal and informal public transportation systems in Gaborone in Botswana, and East London in South Africa.
By the end of 2018, the company had collected the world’s most comprehensive dataset for integrated formal and informal public transport in Mexico City.
Minibus taxis are the most common form of public transport in South Africa, with over 15 million commuter trips daily, followed by bus services at nine million commuter trips. Monthly commuting costs can reach up to 46% of an individual’s monthly income, with 50% of the population paying a little under R 3,000 per month ($216/month).
Goodwell Investments claims that poor mobility in emerging markets is a huge social issue. WhereIsMyTransport’s data and technology has the potential to have a direct positive sustainable impact on millions of excluded households.
In 2016, Goodwell Investments, alongside Omidyar Network and Horizons Ventures, poured a total of $1.536 million of seed funding into WhereIsMyTransport. One year later, the Global Innovation Fund (GIF) made a $712,000 investment in the company.
WhereIsMyTransport claims that, unlike the developed world where journey-mapping processes are taken for granted, emerging cities present the biggest opportunities for urban futures.
“It creates a foundation for cities and innovators to bring much needed access and information about mobility to millions of people. It’s also just the beginning for us at WhereIsMyTransport as we work to empower people to get where they want to go,” claims Devin de Vries, co-founder and CEO of WhereIsMyTransport told Disrupt Africa.
WhereIsMyTransport is not the only platform mapping informal transit networks in Africa. In Egypt, Transport for Cairo has been working to map public bus routes and informal transit networks in an effort to improve accessibility to transport in the city. In Nairobi, Digital Matatus – which has partnered with Transport for Cairo in Egypt – has been working to map the city’s network of informal matatus since 2015.