Frances Shen, Huawei KZN general manager, and Sipho Nzuza, eThekwini municipal manager, test the wi-fi. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu
Durban's People Mover bus passengers are eager to log on to the new on-board wi-fi system launched by the eThekwini Municipality on Thursday.

Ten buses will be fitted with routers, to give passengers who have registered online, access to 250MB free daily.

Thami Manyathi, head of the eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA), said over the next nine months they would test the on-board wi-fi possibilities on the inner city routes.

He said it could be applied to the Go!Durban - Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network system.

Manyathi said Huawei supplied the routers free of charge for the test period.

“Going forward, when Go!Durban becomes operational, the provision of wi-fi on buses travelling on the major routes as well as within stations will enable efficient commutes, allowing commuters access to bus timetables, check routes and connections, and watch for updates from the ETA management centre,” he said.

Passengers can also access their e-mails and other social media sites.

Instructions and information on how to log on are inside the selected buses.

Patsy Govender, a frequent passenger of South Beach, said it would save her WhatsApp data usage. She was not sure how it worked, but said she would give it a try.

Xolile Malembe, of Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Grey) Street, said she tried it several times, but it did not work.

“I will keep trying to follow the instructions on the buses,” she said.

Malembe has been travelling on the buses for two years and was looking forward to the next few months.

Veronica Shaka, of South Beach, said she was now encouraged to take the bus more often.

Most bus passengers interviewed said they would use the data for accessing their WhatsApp and Facebook accounts.

Narcy Zwane and Okuhle Gwadela, students at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), said they heard about the wi-fi from friends on campus and would try out the system.

They would use it to research information on projects and access e-mails.

Suben Govender, of eThekwini’s IT department, said wireless routers had been installed, and in the interest of the public, certain online sites had been restricted.

Sipho Nzuza, eThekwini’s municipal manager, said it was a step in the right direction of becoming a smart city.

Daily News