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Bulawayo engineer develops app to make public transport safer and more efficient

by Staff reporter
12 Jun 2023 at 01:25hrs | Views
MR Hope Ndhlovu, the Bulawayo-born software engineer, who won the 2019 World Bank Youth Summit Award, has embarked on a new venture to revolutionise commuting in Zimbabwe through a taxi application. The groundbreaking application, which is now operational in Bulawayo, aims to make public transport in Africa safer, cheaper and more efficient.

The app, which is now available on Google Playstore, will be launched in Harare in August.

Having studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Harvard University in the United States, Ndhlovu was among the hundreds of participants who submitted their innovative apps for consideration at the prestigious World Bank Summit in 2019.

Mr Hope Ndhlovu

Now, after years of hard work and dedication, the founder of Tuverl Pvt Limited, a company with interest in public transport, launched another app – the Tuverl App — on Saturday, with a vision to enhance commuting experiences across Zimbabwe.

"The Tuverl App's primary objective is to make public transport more accessible and affordable for millions of commuters in African countries.

"By helping public transport operators reduce operational costs, optimise routes and increase revenue, Tuverl strives to improve the overall efficiency of the system. With this app, commuters can easily hail a taxi and pay for their public transportation using either cash or Fintech mobile app solutions. This eliminates the need to waste time searching or calling taxis to inquire about pick-up times and pricing.

"One of the standout features of the Tuverl App is its review system, which empowers commuters to provide feedback about drivers and their overall commuting experience. By incentivising drivers to offer better customer service, Tuverl aims to elevate the quality of public transport for everyone. This dedication to improving the industry's standards is what sets Tuverl apart," said Ndhlovu.

Targeting commuters in African countries, starting with Zimbabwe, the app caters for a specific demographic between the ages of 18 and 40.

"The average commuter has a specific psychological profile that we hope to take advantage of as we scale our app. This group, predominantly consisting of students attending or recently graduated from tertiary institutions, exhibits high digital literacy rates and frequents various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.

"As these individuals do not own personal vehicles and heavily rely on public transport, they embrace new technology and regularly use mobile banking apps for their daily transactions."

The Tuverl App offers a range of features to enhance the commuting experience for both commuters and drivers. Commuters can easily sign up using their phone numbers and hail taxis conveniently while on the move.

"Commuters have the option to book taxis in advance for dates up to two weeks ahead, ensuring a hassle-free travel. Trip prices are predetermined based on distance, time and a standardised base price for each city where Tuverl operates. Commuters can also keep a record of their trips, receive timely notifications about their trip requests and status and enjoy sign-up discounts using referral codes.

"On the other hand, drivers receive text notifications for every taxi request and booking containing comprehensive information about the commuter, pick-up and destination locations, departure and estimated arrival times and prices. By promptly responding to requests, drivers contribute to the fast and efficient delivery of services. They also receive daily SMS reports on the number of trips and revenue they have collected, with weekly and monthly aggregated data for further analysis."

To ensure a successful roll-out, Mr Ndhlovu said Tuverl has developed a comprehensive strategy that includes leveraging social media platforms, maintaining an informative website with regular blog updates, implementing influencer marketing and establishing partnerships with various organisations.

Through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn, Tuverl will consistently engage with its audience by posting updates and relevant content.

The company has strategically partnered with influential individuals who have a significant following on social media. They include Jahalemzansi Sibanda, Vuyisile Ndlovu, Allen Moyo, Cleo Ncube, Amanda Dube, Zithelo Mguni, Miyamiko Banda, Antonella Nare and Junior Garnet.

Mr Ndhlovu also revealed that the company has implemented a partner referral system. This system allows Tuverl to collaborate with various organisations.

"By providing partners with referral codes, they can distribute them to their followers, members, staff, and customers. This mutually beneficial arrangement not only expands Tuverl's user base but also provides incentives for the partner organisations.

"We will maintain an active online presence through its website, regularly updating it with engaging content and weekly blogs that keep users informed about the app's progress. By providing comprehensive information about the app's features, we aim to educate and familiarise potential users with its functionalities," said Mr Ndhlovu.

Source - The Chronicle