A Namibian innovative trio has stepped forward to engineer a carpooling mobile application, termed Intercity, meant to change the face of public transport by brining drivers closer to passengers.
These are charted waters but Herobiam Heita (Head of operations), Tomas Aipanda (Head of business development) and Heinrich Aluvilu (Head of technical services) the revolution is yet to gather the much needed dust as the public transport business model hasn’t seen much change since the advent of engine driven cars in Namibia.
“Intercity is a locally designed carpooling mobile application that provides a safe and secure platform to connect different drivers with users that need transportation or those that need their merchandise transported.”
“The application also caters for public transporters and courier companies. It brings clients and service providers together and allows seamless trading within transportation, logistics and courier services,” says the trio.
By optimising the full use of all vehicles on Namibian roads in real time, the trio says, this cutting edge technology revolutionises the face of logistics and transportation.
It makes it faster for the passenger or merchandise to reach their destination; it reduces transportation costs; it makes the transportation industry safe and more reliable.
Yet despite a handful of innovators having come forward with solutions, why have these technologies not found a foot-hold in the Namibian market space?
“There has always been a push for Namibians to provide solutions to Namibian problems because foreign innovations in several areas have not been aligning with the needs on the ground,” they submit.
The three have canvassed their energies by also leveraging on their diverse professional backgrounds to bring about what they consider a near-to-perfect product.
Herobiam is a software developer and so is Aluvilu while Aipanda is an engineer.
According to Herobiam the intercity story started a long time ago when the 21st century started demanding a fast paced flexible way of life for the average middle class citizen which the local transport system could not support.
“We are often faced with high travel costs due to the long distance between our workplaces and homes or villages. We are also forced to wait for long hours in buses while waiting for them to fill up without any certainty of the departure time. As if that is not enough, we then have to endure long hours in uncomfortable seats.”
“As a passenger, Intercity offers you endless travelling opportunities and flexible travel times across the whole country while paying a fraction of the cost. As a driver, Intercity offers you companionship and reduced travelling costs,” they tell The Villager.
"The application is available for anyone to download and travel anywhere around the country at a fraction of the cost through shared vehicle resources. If you sign up as a driver, the app allows you to post your travel plan so that passengers headed in the same direction can subscribe to you. If you sign up as a passenger, you can filter through posted travel plans to choose which preferred driver, car and time you would like to travel," they said.
It is easy to use and does not require a lot of data.
Safety and security is at the top of the list for Intercity with the operators maintaining a database of accurate user information we encourage our users to cross check details with the driver before embarking on a journey, says the App engineers.
“We are also open to receive complaints that we take seriously and remove users based on the severity of the complaint. A rating system also allows the best users to be preferred,” they add.
Plans to process and authenticate all users are at an advanced stage with relevant regulatory bodies.
The application was launched on Friday, 1st of June 2018 and after 4 days, it is already boasting 500 downloads and counting and is currently only available on Google Playstore but will be rolled out onto Apple and Web Platforms in due time.