Integrating Information for Efficient Communication in South Africa’s First Rapid Rail Network

The Gautrain is South Africa’s first rapid rail system, connecting the cities and airport in Gauteng – South Africa’s most urbanised region. WhereIsMyTransport integrated the Gautrain data with the data of other transport providers on our platform, providing users of the new Gautrain app with truly multimodal journey planning with <1sec response times. We also provided a streamlined incident-communication platform that could be used to expedite communication with passengers.

The Gautrain is Africa’s first rapid rail network, launching passenger operations on its airport line in June of 2010 in time for the FIFA World Cup. Now a familiar icon in the regions of Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Ekurhuleni, the Gautrain was and is a major infrastructural investment by the Gauteng Provincial Government and the South African National Government. The Gautrain reached its millionth passenger just three months after launch and has remained a significant part of the public transport ecosystem in South Africa’s most populated region. Plans have also been announced for further expansion.

The Gautrain mobile app is a key part of the company’s commitment to a convenient, comfortable, and informed passenger experience. Passengers use the app to plan their journeys, check the route map and timetable, and connect with the integrated bus system that provides feeder routes to the train system. Gautrain wanted to provide users with major new app features and enhance information sharing with passengers. They also wanted to provide dynamic journey planning on their website.

WhereIsMyTransport worked with the teams at the Gautrain Management Agency and Bombela Concession Company in the planning and execution of this app. Integrating the data for the Gautrain operations, we worked with the company that developed the Gautrain app, AfriGIS, to connect the app to our platform. The result is significantly improved journey planning and a centralised communications hub for Gautrain staff.

Integrating an existing app with the WhereIsMyTransport platform

The new version of the Gautrain app draws journey planning, route and schedule information from the WhereIsMyTransport platform. Previously, users could only access information about the Gautrain services through the app—if they wanted to plan a journey using several modes, such as a local bus and the Gautrain—they had to seek out information for each service separately and plan the trip themselves. By connecting the app to the WhereIsMyTransport platform, Gautrain has made the information about its services as integrated with the other transport modes available in the area as the services themselves. Users gained access to multimodal journey planning, drawing on the extensive data we have for the other modes in Johannesburg and Pretoria—from the BRT system to private buses and rail. The Gautrain is an important part of the transport ecosystem in the region, and users of the app can now easily access the information they need to travel across it, making the rail lines digitally, as well as physically, integrated.

Our work with AfriGIS during the app development process involved providing support, documentation and resources to ensure that our platform integrated smoothly with the new app. AfriGIS engineers interacted with the WhereIsMyTransport platform on a daily basis, sometimes querying it over 80,000 times a month. AfriGIS also developed a journey planning interface for the Gautrain website using the WhereIsMyTransport platform.

“Gautrain has very high standards for their passengers. With a response time of less than one second, our platform is architected to meet them.” – Chris King, Product Manager at WhereIsMyTransport.

Our platform’s high standards are accompanied by rigorous testing: every possible combination of route, time, and fare that is returned in the Gautrain app has been verified for accuracy, and the app has undergone nearly 6 months of internal testing by Gautrain and AfriGIS staff.

WhereIsMyTransport is proud to support the Gautrain as they strive to offer their passengers accurate, timely information and the high standard of communication that they have come to expect.

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