Mobile tech helps drive nation’s public transport forward

These developments, initiated by local budding startups with support from the government, is set to help improve public transport in the sultanate, even if only slightly.

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Two interesting developments are happening in Brunei’s transportation landscape this year. We just got our very own ride-booking service set up, and more recently a mobile app that aims to enhance the efficiency fo the nation’s current bus system is in the works.

These developments, initiated by local budding startups with support from the government, is set to help improve public transport in the sultanate, even if only slightly. We’re still far behind other nations that have monorails and bike lanes, and I still can’t walk from Kiulap to Gadong by means of an underpass, but we’re getting somewhere.

And both these solutions are made possible with mobile technology.

Having a ride-booking service like Dart, for instance, will make taxis and private hire cars more accessible to everyone in the country, simply with the use of smartphones.

Just like using Uber or Grab abroad, the Dart app (available as a free download on iOS and Google Play Store) provides users the cost of the fare and the taxis’ estimated arrival time before booking, and payment is processed after the trip is completed (via debit or credit cards).

The development team at Dart. Picture obtained from dartbrunei.com

In case when your car breaks down or you’re stranded somewhere without a car, you can simply pull out your phone and book a ride with Dart. No more waiting for a family or friend to pick you up.

Tourists can use Dart to get around without having to make arrangements with the hotel concierge or wait under the sun for a taxi to come by. No longer do our foreign friends have to call us for a pickup or dropoff at the airport.

As of June, Dart has close to 7,000 downloads and almost 100 rides booked after a month of operation.

Dart was launched in May and the startup is one of the first incubatees of Progresif’s Startup Lab initiative. The firm is supported by the Ministry of Communications.

The local company is now opening its ride-booking service to the public, so there will be plenty more Dart car drivers in the sultanate available later this year. Initially, the firm trialed its system with metered taxis.

As of June, Dart has close to 7,000 downloads and almost 100 rides booked after a month of operation, the company said in a statement.

The startup also said it has over 300 registered interest from the public to be a Dart Car driver.

Another project in development that hopes to address the issue plaguing our public bus system is e-Route.

This mobile app, created by two students from Politeknik Brunei, allows users to track the country’s public buses in real time. Again, no more waiting under the sun for hours not knowing when the next bus is arriving.

The app also lets users locate the nearest bus stops, updated routes as well as bus seat availability. There’s also a possibility of including mobile payment.

Last month, the team behind the project received a startup grant worth B$20,000 from Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) to complete development of ‘E-Route’ after securing first place at a hackathon.

The students said that the app aims to encourage more Bruneians to use the buses in the country.

These developments are proof that Brunei has the capacity to create innovative solutions that could drive the nation forward.

1 COMMENT

  1. “payment is processed after the trip is completed (via debit or credit cards)”

    This is not true. There is an initial deduction of $1 when you do the booking via the app; regardless whether the booking went through or not. I’ve spoken to the taxi driver myself, some customers are charged $1 even if the booking was unsuccessful. Some have even asked for a refund.

    The app still need lots of improvements. I’ve also been told that the booking can only be accepted by the taxi driver if they switch on the app 24/7. Once the app goes idle/stand by/sleep, they will never receive the booking. That explains why my advanced booking (done at 10 pm) failed the other day, and $1 was deducted off my debit card.

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