A Metrobus at Gandhi Square on August 18, 2004, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Image: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Dudu Zitha

A Metrobus at Gandhi Square on August 18, 2004, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Dudu Zitha

A new online platform is probably the only place where South Africa’s disconnected public transport system can come together.

The platform , accessed via an app on your cellphone, provides information about transport routes, bus services and trains in any given area .

The app, FindMyWay, which is the brainchild of Chris King and Devin de Vries, is growing in popularity as more and more public transport providers feed their information into it.

The app isconstantly updated so users can check if a bus or train is running late – provided the alerts are sent to FindMyWay by service providers. These could, for example, include Metrobus in Johannesburg. FindMyWay is available in Cape Town – the first city to adopt it – Johannesburg, George, Tshwane, Durban, Buffalo City, and Nelson Mandela Bay.

The developers created the app based on their platform, so any city in the country could tailor the system to accommodate transport options and routes in its area. This could enable cities to show revised schedules on electronic screens at bus or train terminals .

android app.JPGThe idea was born in 2007 when King, studying at the University of Cape Town, was late for a class because the campus shuttle failed to arrive on time.

De Vries said he and King could not understand why a schedule was not accessible remotely.

He said without access to information, it made what should have been a “no brainer” – deciding whether to wait for the shuttle or to walk or drive to campus – impossible.

They then decided to develop a database to integrate public transport schedules around the university with that of the campus shuttle.

They have since graduated from UCT and have fine-tuned the system.

“People are trying to go from A to B; they are not trying to use any particular service.

“Their motivation is that they want to get from here to there,” said De Vries.

The app is a system that allows commuters to decide on the easiest way to get somewhere.

It was built on their WhereIsMyTransport platform which brings the schedules of different transport operators together.

They now plan to add tourism transport options to the platform and in the long run, perhaps even taxis.

The FindMyWay app is available for Android, Windows and iOS. You can also go to the mobi site findmywayapp.com.