Today the City of Cape Town achieved another first in South Africa, with an important step towards our goal to become the digital capital of Africa by launching the pilot phase of Wi-Fi provision on our MyCiTi buses.
As an opportunity city, we understand the demands of the 21st century and the greater need for connectedness.
As of part of a pilot phase, Wi-Fi has been installed on 10 MyCiTi buses, which will first be tested on the various feeder routes across the city.
Once the service has been tested on the feeder routes, the full roll-out will be expanded to all 380 buses such as the trunk routes in Atlantis, Table View, Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.
Passengers on these buses will be able to connect their Wi-Fi-enabled devices (cellphones, laptops, tablets) to the Wi-Fi.
Late last year, the City of Cape Town awarded a tender to VAST Networks to provide and manage the provision of Wi-Fi on MyCiTi buses.Basic use of the service will be free. Each passenger will have use of a limited amount of data for a limited amount of time each day at no charge.
Each passenger will receive 50 MB per day to get connected and start working or do research while travelling to and from work or school.
Passengers will be able to register to the ‘VAST’ Wi-Fi in a few easy steps, click on ‘complimentary access’ and start browsing using the free 50 MB.
Once this allocation expires, users will be redirected to the homepage where they can either buy Wi-Fi vouchers or proceed back to using their own data.
An exciting part of this service is a free VAST portal where commuters can browse a range of content such as news, sport, lifestyle and educational sites free of any data charges.
The provision of Wi-Fi is a key part of our integration strategies where we are connecting more people to services and opportunities.
As part of the pilot phase, commuters will also be able to log into the Wi-Fi at the Cape Town Metrorail station – a prime example of our vision to build an integrated transport system where we connect residents to various transport modes, networks and services.
It was indeed an exciting day for me as I was finally able to join passengers on board a MyCiTi bus and connect to the internet.
The provision of Wi-Fi on the MyCiTi buses is an integral part of the City’s Congestion Relief Programme as this provides an incentive to use public transport instead private vehicles so that we can reduce the number of cars on our roads.
The availability of Wi-Fi internet access on MyCiTi buses is expected to improve the attractiveness of the public transport system to commuters by enabling them to be productive while traveling (e.g. sending e-mails, reading the news, communicating, and engaging in work and online social activities).
Instead becoming frustrated in traffic, motorists can get onto a MyCiTi bus, log onto the Wi-Fi, and start their work for the day or simply just browse the internet while travelling to work.
During the proof of concept phase, the service will be tested on 10 buses on various routes and we will use the feedback from commuters to improve the service where necessary.
Once we are satisfied with the performance and the pilot phase of six months is completed, Wi-Fi will progressively become available on all MyCiTi bus routes (380 buses).
We firmly believe that there is a positive correlation between the availability of internet access and the social and economic upliftment of communities.
Internet access and digital literacy are widely recognised as enablers of economic participation and improved educational outcomes.
This is an exciting development to serve the needs of our growing city and ensure that our residents and commuters are connected and are able to access opportunities.
We look forward to improving our service through the provision of Wi-Fi for the 75 000 individual passenger trips which take place each week day.
I encourage passengers to provide feedback using the various MyCiTi communication channels (website: www.myciti.org.za, the toll-free number from a landline: 0800 65 64 63, e-mail: email@example.com, or dial *120*1040# from any mobile phone) so that we can improve the service to our customers.
Let us use this as another opportunity to get connected and keep making progress possible, together.