Zeelo, the shared transportation service, has launched in South Africa, it’s first overseas market after the United Kingdom. Photo: AP

DURBAN - Zeelo, the shared transportation service, has launched in South Africa, it’s first overseas market after the United Kingdom. 

Zeelo uses superior data analytics to provide mobility services to travellers that are undeserved and only have the option to drive.

The platform builds routes using a unique AI-powered algorithm, RINA (Route Integration Navigation Algorithm). This works by inputting customer data into RINA, the algorithm then plots out the data on a map and calculates the most effective and efficient routes for these customers.

Zeelo has integrated with more than 20,000 vehicles to provide commuting, event and private charter services. In South Africa, Zeelo has partnered with a number local of operators who supply the vehicles used to transport Zeelo passengers safely to their destination. 

Zeelo offers a state-of-the-art online booking platform and technology which allows passengers to track their ride in real time. 

Zeelo started life in South Africa as ‘The Rugga Bus’, a service transporting Cell C Sharks fans to and from Jonsson Kings Park on match days. The bus was founded and managed by two Durban locals, Andrew Robarts and James Champion, before news of the idea spread to London, where Zeelo Co-Founders, Sam Ryan and Barney Williams, became interested in the idea.

The teams struck a deal and Zeelo SA was launched. Zeelo now provides services to major sporting events, concerts and festivals across South Africa.

Zeelo's first corporate commute offering got underway in July 2019, where the company provided shuttles for employees working in 3 corporate offices in Sandton from the Sandton Gautrain Station.

Zeelo was officially launched in the United Kingdom in 2016 and was launched in South Africa in August 2018. According to Andrew Robarts, the General Manager of Zeelo SA, said, "In South Africa, Zeelo is focusing is energy on Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban but is still open to opportunities outside of these cities". 

The offering from the platform can be broken down in three verticals:

1. ZeeloCOMMUTE – transport solutions for employees to and from work. Passengers would book a seat on the service via the Zeelo website. This may be partially or fully subsidized by a company if we are offering the service specifically for them. 

2. ZeeloEVENTS – transport solutions to and from major events. We would partner with the event and setup a booking page on the Zeelo website for this event. Passengers would then book their seats via the website.

3. ZeeloPRIVATE – transport solutions for private groups. People can request a private vehicle (7-60 seats) to get them from A to B. This could be for a holiday, airport transfer, party bus etc. Here there is the option for 1 passenger to pay for the whole vehicle, or split the cost of the journey with their fellow passengers by sharing the payment link with them.

Zeelo Co-Founder and Chief Executive Sam Ryan said, "South Africa is the perfect market for us. Our aim is to provide safe, convenient and affordable shared transport options to those who are completely reliant on their car so they can make more of their travelling time. The significant gaps in public transport provision in South Africa mean increasing congestion, pollution and car parking challenges, causing frustration for travellers and headaches for cities and companies. We see a huge opportunity to provide South Africa with the transport solution it deserves". 

Zeelo have recently raised £4.25million (R76.62 million) to fuel their expansion overseas with focus on the commuting vertical.

The Zeelo team are based in Durban, but operate across the country. 

Zeelo, the shared transportation service, has launched in South Africa, it’s first overseas market after the United Kingdom. Photo: Supplied


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