Innovation and technology are critical to reinforce sustainability in road transportation. In recent years’ smart technologies such as ‘Smart Mobile Travel Apps’ are influencing mobility particularly in cities. For example, ‘smart mobile Apps’ enabled ride shares and taxi services have become significant components in cities. However, while they are offering new opportunities in the urban mobility system, they are also bringing in certain sustainability and functional challenges. Therefore, using the case studies of ride share and taxi services provided by use of such ‘Smart Mobile Travel Apps’ in two cities - Cape Town in South Africa and Kolkata in India, this study examined the acceptability and availability of Smart Mobile Travel App enabled taxis and the challenges faced by these taxi services in cities of developing countries. An inductive and explorative survey research method was used for this study. Findings suggest that ‘Smart Mobile Travel Apps’ enabled ride shares and taxi services are highly acceptable and available to people for local accessibility in cities, although the cost of travel varies. However, there are challenges with regards to internet connectivity and its reliability and skill to use these Apps. Furthermore, there is a need for free internet connectivity hot spots in different parts of the cities for smooth operation and improved accessibility of these taxis.
Papers presented at the 36th Southern African Transport Conference, CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa on 10-13 July 2017.