Mobile apps I use in and around Johannesburg (1 of 2)

I have two smartphones that I cannot do without and 7 favourite mobile apps (that I will discuss shortly). No matter where I am going, I always take my Blackberry Priv (which runs on Google Android) and my iPhone 6 (which runs on iOS). My smartphones give me the freedom to access everything at the tap of a screen. The mobile apps on them allow me to access my money, request a taxi, find accommodation and order food. Our smartphones can now do everything that phones could not do decades ago.

Mobile apps

Numbers tell a story

Statistically, mobile phones are progressively becoming part of the lives of billions of people globally. More than 62% of the world’s population owned a mobile phone as at 2016 compared to an estimated 50% global ownership of mobile phones in 2006.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the adoption of mobile devices has almost doubled within the last ten years with 44% subscriber penetration as at 2017. 

There’s a mobile app for everything

The list of things you can do with smartphones and mobile apps is endless. With your smartphone and mobile apps, you can search for and find everything from schools, jobs, love, cooking recipes, accommodation,
protection to transportation.

There’s a mobile app for everything. For example, I have a mobile app that monitors my heartbeat while my wife has a mobile app that monitors her monthly cycle. People have adopted mobile apps as their best friends. These mobile apps’ ability to make our lives easier have increased their global acceptance.

My favourite mobile apps

At the moment, there are 7 mobile apps that stand out for me. These apps’ functionality ranges from messaging, transport, shopping, journaling, training to business enhancement. These 7 mobile apps have helped me to reduce my stress levels and increase my productivity. I will briefly go through each app with a review of my personal experience. 

1. WhatsApp – instant messaging app

Mobile apps - WhatsApp

WhatsApp has significantly cut down costs associated with my phone calls and messaging. Starting with international calls, which are very expensive. The advent of WhatsApp has brought ease in the frequency of calling Lagos (Nigeria) from Johannesburg at any time of the day. Gone are the days when I had to load R110 airtime on my Vodacom phone or R100 airtime on my MTN phone just to make a call for 1 hour or less. At times, my airtime would even disappears. Things have changed, I now use Rain to make calls via WhatsApp’s steadily improving service quality. I finally have more quality time with family and friends across the WhatsApp messaging, video and voice call offerings. This app is a go!

Download WhatsApp on Android and Apple

2. VayaMoja – app for buses in Johannesburg

VayaMoja is a public transport mobile app developed by the City of Johannesburg for ReaVaya and MetroBus commuters. Even though I started using the Johannesburg Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) service around July in 2018, my experience has been mostly pleasant.

ReaVaya – safe, affordable and convenient

ReaVaya is tsotsitaal meaning, ‘We are going’. The ReaVaya public transport service presently runs through the bustling inner city of Johannesburg on dedicated road lanes connecting the various townships in Soweto and the Braamfontein areas. The city management has plans to expand to other parts of the city in the future. The bus system is safe, cheap, comfortable and fairly reliable. Compared to driving to certain parts of the city in a car, ReaVaya can be more affordable and convenient. The Reavaya bus is clean with spacious leg room and comfortable seating pads. It also has wide windows that give good street views and if you are standing, there are handheld ropes and poles to keep you safe within the bus. The busses are also well managed as you will rarely find any of their buses abruptly stop in traffic due to mechanical faults (unlike Putco buses). 

Increased fuel prices and affordable public transport

Considering the rising cost of petrol, ReaVaya was my common sense mode of transport when traveling to the ‘traffic jammed’ Johannesburg inner city. I downloaded VayaMoja smartphone app because I wanted to be in charge of my trips. Asking for direction from bus station staff or fellow commuters can be confusing and stressful. The app gives users the ability to search for routes, the bus fare, transit points, and bus schedules and of course transit related information.

Find the nearest Metrobus or ReaVaya station via VayaMoja

My favorite feature on the VayaMoja app is the ability to see the closest bus station and service routes to me. Right within the bus route pane, you can also see where a specific bus is coming from and where it is going. This mobile app is user-friendly and it has helped me to plan my trips.

The bad side of ReaVaya

Of course, Rea Vaya has its shortcomings. It is expected to be on schedule but my friend, be ready for unpleasant surprises (sometimes). My first shocking experience of limited busses was at the Library Gardens East Bus Station at Joburg Central Business District (CBD). The number of commuters waiting for pickup was overwhelming. One of the bus station staff members attributed the delay to fewer buses on the trunk routes serving the CBD and connecting my destination. With this experience, I now prepare ahead for the worst case scenario – most especially around late afternoons and weekends.

In conclusion, VayaMoja is a great app that guarantees convenience and ease of access to public transport information in Johannesburg.

Download VayaMoja on Apple’s App Store (iOS) or on Google Play Store (Android).

This list of mobile apps I use in Johannesburg will continue in my next post.

Akindele Olunloyo

Entrepreneur

Akindele is an entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Lagos to Jozi and a Master Crafter at ProjectiYoruba where he handcrafts furniture and home decor.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.