JOHANNESBURG - Information Technology entrepreneur Tshidi Morabi has developed an application (app) that allows parents to track their children in real time while they are being transported to and from school by service providers, and sends Short Message Service (SMS) notification during different stages of the trip.
Morabi was inspired to create the app, LocTransie, after having to make a mad dash to her child's school in a panic when the driver contracted to transport the child failed to pick up his phone.
"Every day, thousands of South African children travel by scholar transport. I struggled to find the right transport company, and then constantly worried when I was not kept in the loop. There had to be a better solution,” says Morabi, who runs IT firm Ginini Consulting.
Through a user-friendly interface on a smartphone or tablet, LocTransie -- derived from the words "locate" and "transie", a colloquial reference to "transport" -- keeps parents directly informed of delays or route diversions whilst allowing the driver to privately notify parents of emergencies through customised push notifications.
It reduces the risk of swopping children from one transport company to an unknown third party without the parent’s knowledge and also allows them to compare prices charged by various school transport services within their neighbourhood or district.
The app also allows school authorities to sign children in and out of the premises.
"The launch of the app was delayed by a number of weeks to allow the school component to be included. This was based on extensive discussions with schools who wanted to be involved and ‘tick off’ when students arrive or exit their care,” said Morabi, who has been canvassing school transport companies to sign up and provide this service to their customers.
She said most school transport firms did not have websites and would benefit from the increased visibility they got from being listed on the app's directory.
Morabi also touted the advantages of developing apps locally.
"Many local entrepreneurs have been burnt by creating an app very cheaply overseas in India or Bangladesh, only to find it impossible to refine or update the product once it has been launched," said Morabi, who has a bachelor of commerce degree in Informatics and a post-graduate diploma in risk management.
With 19 years of experience in information and communications technology as a business analyst and trainer, Morabi started her own business in 2014 and Ginini Consulting is one of the 170 startups based at the Riversands incubation hub.
- African News Agency (ANA)