#Africa South Africans, this startup wants to streamline your commute


Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sit on the Gautrain and arrange a cup of coffee and a taxi to be waiting for you at your final stop, simply by using your smartphone?

Well, it is possible, thanks to South African startup CommutaX, a commuter convenience platform that integrates services useful to commuters to help enhance the overall commuter experience.

Launched last year, CommutaX is currently integrated with four service providers, including coffee shops, cab companies and tuk tuk shuttle providers. So, when you’re sat on the train, you can arrange for a taxi to pick you up and even make sure you have a coffee waiting for you at your destination, simply by arranging via the CommutaX platform.

Co-founder Luthando Garane told Disrupt Africa the platform – which is available on web and mobile – aims to provide commuters with access to a portfolio of convenience services through relationships with established service providers, handling both communication and billing.

“I had a look at the public transport system in South Africa and I realised that there is a huge difference in the way people who use taxis commute from the people who use BRT and mass transit systems like the Gautrain, and we began to unpack the different services and needs people have while they are on the move,” he said.

“We noticed a number of things across the public transportation industry, from daily commuting like using the Gautrain to using the domestic airlines, and we decided to sit down and research the idea further and see if it made business sense and if it would grow or not. And the research numbers came through showing there was a market and there was stuff that could be done.

The result is the self-funded CommutaX, which Garane plans to scale further to allow users to arrange every aspect of their journey via their smartphone, from booking on board transport to arranging for an umbrella to be waiting for them in the event of rain.

“The app will make life easier for commuters, by giving them access to services from coffee to a cab, or, if the weather caught you off guard and you need an umbrella, CommutaX will provide it for you. We are still working on it but those are some of the services we are planning to have,” he said.

Last year and most of this one was spent focusing on the development of the application, with Garane and the rest of his team now focusing on marketing and getting CommutaX into the market. Currently only operating in Gauteng with almost 400 users, it plans to expand to the likes of Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth soon before hopefully moving into other African countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Morocco and Tanzania.

“We make money through service provider partnerships, which allow us to share revenue with them for the use of the platform,” Garane said. “Revenue has been low at the moment as we try to market ourselves more effectively, there are more revenue models coming up that we will be implementing with new services.”

Rolling out the platform has been a challenging one, for mostly bureaucratic reasons.

“We have been encountering a lot of government red tape, where we cannot operate where we would like to operate,” Garane said. “As an innovative company we are changing our strategy and moving forward, with or without the state’s assistance.”

The post South Africans, this startup wants to streamline your commute appeared first on Disrupt Africa.

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