Several public transport services in South Africa have recently revealed plans to implement on-board Wi-Fi access for their passengers.
Gautrain, the rapid rail network in Gauteng, has revealed plans to launch Wi-Fi services before the end of the year.
A spokesperson for Gautrain has also said that they are on track to have mobile phone signal at all subterranean areas by the end of July. This has been an ongoing project between Gautrain and mobile service providers which included implementing voice reception in all stations in 2013, while phase two covered reception in the tunnel by December 2013. Reception on the whole route will now be up and running by July 2014.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco)
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) has meanwhile announced that it has partnered with Telkom to offer free Wi-Fi connections at taxi ranks and in minibus taxis by the end of June 2014.
The initiative, called WiTaxi, will offer commuters 50MB/month of free Wi-Fi data, and is being rolled out Nationwide by Santaco through their commercial subsidiary TaxiChoice. For this initiative, Telkom will provide 3G and 4G bandwidth within the taxis to provide commuters with internet access.
“This initiative is part of Santaco’s long-term vision … aimed at modernising, revitalising, transforming and developing the taxi industry into a world-class taxi service,” said association president Philip Taaibosch. According to Santaco WiTaxi will eventually provide more than 15 million consumers with access to the internet.
Phase one of the project will see Wi-Fi access points rolled out to 1500 taxis and about 50 taxi ranks over the next six months. The second phase has plans for ramping up the instillation to between 4000 and 5000 access points per month. Santaco expects that more than 90% of all taxis and taxi ranks will be covered within the first three years.
Metrorail (Western Cape)
In the Western Cape, Metrorail is also rolling out free Wi-Fi in their train stations, with future plans to offer Wi-Fi in carriages as well.
Going live on the 14th of June, Cape Town Station was the first to receive the free Wi-Fi. After an initial testing period it will then be rolled out to all stations on the southern line from Cape Town to Muizenberg.
The next phase will be to get Wi-Fi on board the trains. It is Metrorail’s hope that this initiative will not only allow commuters internet access but will be a way to communicate with the commuters regarding the status of trains, making them aware of delays and stoppages.