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This company thinks it can fix South Africa’s major traffic problems – and it may work out cheaper than driving

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South Africa’s major traffic problems South Africa’s major traffic problems Google Images

Financial services firm Alexander Forbes has released its Benefits Barometer for 2018 – focusing on potential solutions that could shape South Africa’s future.

One of the focuses is on decreasing traffic pressure in South Africa’s cities using ‘FLX’. Created by the GoMetro Group, a South African technology company with international technical expertise, FLX is a smart engine that matches supply and demand across a city and uses the principles of shared mobility, ride-hailing and subscription services. It offers employees and employers the chance to contract with a responsible corporate service provider to deliver people between work and home, safely and reliably, in a Wi-Fi-enabled vehicle.

How it works

FLX works with independent transport service providers (shuttle companies, transport operators, individual professional drivers) to provide a service to a market the service providers would not otherwise have access to, with a pre-approved fleet. It provides a demand-responsive transport solution to commuters, allowing them to bend the system to speak to their needs. Each person is charged individually.

Employees are grouped into the most optimum ‘pods’ of people, based on where they are. Each pod has an associated travel cost, regulated by a smart social contract that’s calculated up front and presented to the employee to accept.

GoMetro noted that the average person has become programmed to ignore actual costs and instead focus on what we’ve termed ‘direct costs’. These direct costs are what drivers feel in their wallets: petrol, car payments, and insurance.

However, few South Africans factor in vehicle depreciation, the cost to themselves and to their employers of parking, and the value of their time spent fighting traffic and looking for parking.

“Almost no one factors in the cost to their personal wellness, professional productivity and presenteeism, or the cost to the country of pollution, congestion, accidents and lost productivity,” it added.

Taking into account these factors it indicated that using FLX may actually work out cheaper for some South Africans instead of driving.

“The employer is key to the success of this initiative. What businesses demand of property developers and managing agents is what they will get. The employer also needs to incentivise the change for the user,” it said.

“Organisations have a responsibility to their employees to offer a workplace which promotes well-being, and actively endorses and supports campaigns which have employee well-being at their core focus.

“As change agents, organisations should therefore put pressure on property developers and lobby government.”


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