Cape Town commuters will soon be able to connect to the internet – for free – while on the go.
“The city has issued a tender for a service provider to install and operate a wifi internet access service on all MyCiTi buses,” Pierrinne Leukes, spokesperson for Mayor Patricia de Lille, said on 9 July.
The plan was for passengers to be able to connect their own devices to the internet using the wifi on MyCiTi buses.
“We want the service to be available on every operating MyCiTi bus at all times while in service,” she said.
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. The minimum no charge data allowance per day per passenger will be 50MB.
“We anticipate that the tender process will be completed in the latter part of the year. Thereafter, it is our hope that the successful service provider will operate the wifi access service on a pilot basis for six months, after which wifi will progressively become available on all MyCiTi routes and buses over the following six months.”
Solid evidence from many sources worldwide showed there was a positive correlation between the availability of internet access and the social and economic upliftment of communities, she said in explaining the motivation for the step. Internet access and digital literacy were widely recognised as enablers of economic participation and improved educational outcomes.
“This initiative also forms part of our efforts to incentivise residents to get out of their cars and into MyCiTi buses.”
Having wifi on the bus, allowing a commuter to be productive, read the news or contact friends while travelling, was expected to make public transport more attractive.
Transport for Cape Town manages about 300 MyCiTi buses, to be increased by 80 buses this year. MyCiti has three trunk routes with 35 stations, serviced by 22 feeder routes with 322 stops. On average, 75 000 individual passenger trips are undertaken on weekdays.