Africa Day Commemoration: The face of minibus taxi’s across the continent
Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the founding of what is today the African Union. Celebrated by Africans across the globe, this day provides an opportunity to celebrate the socio-economic achievements of the continent while creating a platform for Africans to imagine the future. One of the sectors which is most engaged in discussions of development is public mobility.
Many countries on the continent rely on public transportation systems like South Africa’s minibus taxi service to provide transport to commuters in urban, periurban and rural areas. East Africa’s minibus taxi equivalent is known as the matutu, which accounts for more than 25% of the passenger transport mix when compared to that of Mzansi. Boda-bodas are popular motorcycles that provide micro-mobility requirements through short trips.
What reflections like this allow us to do is imagine what is possible for public transportation, and learn from those who are taking steps to build the future.
An Egyptian based start-up called SWVL has managed to merge technology with Africa’s established public transport offering, but with greater efficiences. Through better demand forecasting, app-supported transactions and market accessibility, SWVL addressed the gap between expensive e-hailing solutions, and unreliable inner city public transport system. Also operating in Kenya, Brazil and Pakistan, the company are set to expand into South Africa soon.
Here at SA Taxi, we are looking at efficiency from the perspective of the Taxipreneur. Through telematics tracking where trips and routes are monitored, Taxipreneurs can now plan the effiency of their trips, and use this data to either increase their supply of minibus taxis or reduce this as needed by diverting the supply to other routes.
MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service) is a shift away from personally-owned modes of transport towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service, accessible on demand. This involves combining transport services from public and private providers through a unifed gateway, or app, that creates and manages trips. Currently a mobility revolution that is sweeping through the developed world, MaaS could play a role in intergrating transport providers to improve public transport in African cities.
The world of mobility offers opportunity and solutions – could this be the future of minibus taxis in Africa?