Carpooling app uGoMyWay finds success in Mother City

Read time 3min 20sec
uGoMyWay app downloads increased by 120%.
uGoMyWay app downloads increased by 120%.

South African carpooling app uGoMyWay saw downloads for the app increase strongly during its pilot corporate carpooling project in Cape Town.

Conducted in association with Accelerate Cape Town, over a period of two-and-a-half months, downloads of the app increased by 120%, with 89% of users finding a match. Over 90% of these matches were classified as 'excellent', where deviation from the original journey was under 2.5km or five minutes, and 50% of users had more than one excellent match.

"The tech works! We were not expecting such an exceptional match outcome at this stage. This is an excellent sign that there is indeed a healthy appetite for carpooling, and it bodes well for the future of carpooling as a viable means of transportation to and from work and other frequent car trips," said Chris Megan, CEO of uGoMyWay.

The ride-share mobile application was officially launched in February 2017 and operates on iOS and Android smartphones. The free app allows users to connect with one another, and through an in-app secure chat function, discuss their trips and agree on a shared cost for the trip. Payment is handled through the app and settled on a monthly basis. The current recommended rate per kilometre is R1 and the distances are calculated automatically through the geo-location software of the app.

Results from the 2017 TomTom Traffic Index showed Cape Town has the most congested roads in SA. uGoMyWay says approximately 260 000 vehicles enter the Cape Town CBD on a daily basis and the overwhelming majority are single occupancy.

The pilot project included eight of the Mother City's top-tier corporate companies and their employees, and uGoMyWay said in a statement this confirms the viability of a sustained ride-share or carpooling programme in the city. The companies that took part in the pilot were Allan Gray, British American Tobacco, Deloitte, Nedbank, PWC, Webber Wentzel, Werksmans and Woolworths.

"Throughout the duration of the pilot, the increase in the number of matches and the quality of matches accelerated exponentially. Quality of match translates directly into convenience and will continue to improve as more large employers in Cape Town join the carpool initiative," uGoMyWay said.

uGoMyWay uses two factors to rank and gauge the quality of a match. The two-factor algorithm recognises the financial benefit of maximising the shared journey while minimising inconvenience or deviation from the original journey.

During the pilot, the app recorded its longest journey at 61.2km and the shortest journey was 5.4km. On an average journey of 20.1km, it was found that an excellent match (shared journey) of over 80% is where the shared journey exceeds 16km, and an excellent match (convenience) of over 80% is where deviation from original journey is less than 5km.

"The pilot was successful in focusing attention and raising awareness of the benefits of carpooling in Cape Town," according to Ryan Ravens, CEO of Accelerate Cape Town.

"That being said, we are rolling out the uGoMyWay solution to all Accelerate Cape Town members and encourage all businesses, whether in the CBD or in other high traffic corridors, to consider adopting carpooling as a valuable mechanism for effecting much-needed behavioural change among staff."

While the pilot was Cape Town-centric, the app developers say the same principles apply in every high traffic area across SA, and uGoMyWay has also seen an incremental uptake in downloads of the Android and iOS app in cities such as Johannesburg and Durban.

There are other apps available in SA that offer the same services, such as CarTrip and Findalift. Google has also piloted similar programmes.

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