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    July 16, 2012

    AppMonday: The Gautrain App

    The Gautrain has been up and running for years now, and although there have been the few complaints, the larger portion of comments have been that it is a fantastic change to our severe lack of public transport in South Africa. We can only hope there will be more routes and more trains in future.

    Their app has been around for a while too. Both fortunately and unfortunately, there isn’t much to review on it. Unfortunately, because I feel there could be a lot more to this app than simply a route-finder and timetable.

    That said, the app works well and I haven’t found it not to work, even when I’m in Cape Town. It finds the locations and finds the timetable correctly. Yes, of course there are sometimes discrepancies in the time the trains arrive. We are not in Germany. A good answer to this would be a system whereby updates are logged continuously and the app receives these updates in real-time. Nevertheless, the timetable provides a reasonable idea of how we can get around, and shows us accurate prices for it.

    The Gautrain has done an app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, and apparently the app works the same on all three platforms. Try it, please, and comment on it below.

    Some valuable information would be to find out if it actually has made a difference to someone’s trip, and whether or not there are still bugs. This is one app that all travelers in South Africa should have.


    About the author:  Jess Green is a digital entrepreneur, passionate about tech, web and mobile. Follow him on @jessello.

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    • My only issue with the app (iPhone version) is that the timetable is not always accurate – I would expect the app to be able keep me posted on delays. It also cannot automatically see whether the weekend or weekday schedule applies.

      • Totally agree, and I mention this in the article, wonder how it could be resolved without using a person? Perhaps an automatic sensor checking when the train enters the station/variou checkpoints?

        • Thats the thing – I doubt it needs human intervention. If the stations know the exact time the next train will arrive (regardless of schedule), surely they can integrate that exact timing with the app?

    • I’ve been using the app for Blackberry for close to 2 to 3 months now. It is great. Not sure if you noticed that the countdown time on the app is a minute ahead so you could be ‘early’ for the train. Either than above complaints which I agree with, I think they should also intergrate the bus timetables and routes as well. It could make life much easier. I don’t know if it would be possible to somehow have a function which tracks the buses on the different routes…. I could be asking for a miracle here. *shrugs*

    • Neil

      There have been a few new gautrain apps released since the release of this one. I suggest that you try some of the others and see if they give better results.

    • Gautrain Gautrain

      Thank you for your comments.

      With regards to bus timetables, as there is no official bus timetable because of the number of influences that a bus is susceptible to during transit. However this has been solved and is in an early development phase to track the whereabouts of the next bus. This addition we are really excited about and will be true too for users of the app. “Where is my bus?” is a frequently asked question.

      For the Train timetable feature, we are looking into the app automatically picking up on the day of week to reflect the weekend or weekday timetable to ease the confusion when it is weekend. We are not at a point yet to call from a realtime timetable feed, restrictions in terms of connectivity have dissuaded us from using this method.


    • It’s interesting to read about the Gautrain and their comment on real-time’ism. I’m venturing into a more complex venture of providing taxi transit around Gauteng. I’ve been off to a slow start though as I’m doing the whole thing part-time.

      I’ll hopefully have a useful product by the end of the year. The service is at http://rwt.to