Former Witsie brings taxi industry into digital world. 

A FORMER Wits student has created an app which aims to bring the taxi industry into the digital era.

Khwela provides the commuter with information about their nearest taxi rank, an itinerary of the rank, the rank manager on duty and up-to-date prices and taxi routes.

Created by Skhona Khumalo who graduated with a BCom Economic Sciences in 2013, the app also gives commuters a platform to lodge complaints, queries, as well as a chat room to engage with other commuters.

“We want to help the taxi industry gather in critical mass. We realise that a lot of commuters feel that they don’t have a voice. We’re showing them that this is something you’re paying for, it’s a service. There needs to be some sort of client care,” Khumalo said.

Khumalo said he had used taxis throughout his academic career. “I have been engaging with the industry throughout my academic career. It seemed kind of obvious that I create an app like this,” he said.

The public relations manager for Khwela, Anele Nzimande, told Wits Vuvuzela that the app was a revolutionary project that brought the taxi industry into the 21st century as it brings innovation into a forgotten place.

“We want to make the taxi rank the new space with vibrant networks. The goal is to transform the rank from being a dubious space to a welcoming one,” Khumalo said.

“Transformation needs to happen in destitute places. What Khwela does, it steps into the space of improving people’s lives at a basic level … It addresses the call for transforming access to the economy,” said Nzimande.

She continued, “Travel is an important part of that. You have all the information at your fingertips. It’s those simple innovations that improve our lives.”

BSc Biological Sciences student, Neo Moteka, who commutes using a taxi told Wits Vuvuzela that he thought the app was a good idea.

“I think that it’s unique and something new. It’s a good idea. I would be interested. It might assist people that are new to an area. You’ll know where to find a taxi, which routes, stops, etc,” he said.

Khwela will be launched at the Bree Taxi rank on Monday, April 23. The soft launch will provide WiFi to commuters to allow them to download and test the app. The app is low graphical and uses low data consumption. It currently works with the Joburg CBD taxi ranks, but its creator hopes to extend its reach.