Mwasalat Misr Reinvents Public Transport in Cairo and Becomes the First Operator to Bring Smart Mobility to Africa with LIT Transit
The private transit operator has transformed this congested megacity towards a sustainable future. Commuting by public transport is now a favorable and pleasant experience, thanks to smart transport solutions using technology from LIT Transit.
Mwasalat Misr is now providing a service comparable with the world’s leading transportation systems, in an environment where proper infrastructure was completely absent.
“The transit management system from LIT immediately helped us to provide a significantly better service with more streamlined and controlled operations.
“We now have control over schedule adherence, which has improved punctuality and drastically limited dwell time for passengers. We achieved a 3.4 minute mean absolute variance from trip start, which is phenomenal given Cairo’s traffic conditions. By monitoring headway, we can make real-time adjustments, which has had a direct positive reflection on revenues.
“The speed of the transformation has been staggering. LIT simplified what started out as a complex project with a solution that was easy to implement. Their systems show a deep understanding of public transportation and there is a willingness to do what it takes to make a project successful.”
Mwasalat Misr is a leading privately-owned Egyptian public transport service covering the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area.
Public transport in Cairo is complex. There are 20 million rides per day via shared public transport, with 13.5 million citizens traveling by bus (the remaining using metro, ferry or taxi services). This includes standard full-sized bus services or minibuses run by the Cairo Transport Authority, smaller private bus operators and privately-run minibuses.
Unfortunately, bus travel in Cairo typically fails to meet expectations for reliability, comfort and safety. A road network burdened with very heavy traffic, inadequate fleet, infrastructure and operational best practice has made bus travel a frustrating experience for users.
Mwasalat Misr mission is to be the provider of choice for customers and a model of excellence for the industry. In doing so, it recognized a gap in the market and the opportunity to transform bus services across the city.
“Previously, Cairo lacked infrastructure that would be considered standard in other cities. There weren’t any fixed routes, bus stops or even schedules, and any technology was basic where it existed. We had to completely reinvent bus travel to give us an edge in the market, also at a time when fares are escalating due to hikes in fuel prices.”
The aim was to offer a more attractive alternative to competing bus and minibus services, while tackling what the operator calls the ‘Middle-Class Paradox’. It wanted to empower commuters to rely on public transport rather than traveling by car or taxi.
Mwasalat Misr knew it needed to take its fleet management to the next level.
With a new air-conditioned smart fleet and a range of value-added services to improve passenger comfort, Mwasalat Misr recognized that technology would underpin its ability to offer a modern urban transportation system.
Mwasalat Misr needed to replace its existing fleet management system with a more advanced, intelligent platform. It partnered with Eazy Mobility, Cairo’s specialist mobility system integrator, who helped to deliver the vision using the transit management system developed by LIT Transit, called LIT Operate.
“The city was ready for a new customer-centric era of mobility. We put the wheels in motion to become the first public transport provider to introduce smart mobility technologies in Egypt.
“The transit management system developed by LIT offers best-in-class CAD/AVL functionality, while being easy to deploy, hardware agnostic and fully scalable. Their system is designed to enable next generation transit environments and shows a deep understanding of the services that operators need to deliver to meet future passenger needs.”
LIT Operate provides a comprehensive operations and fleet management toolset using data imported from the existing transit operation back end. The system offers complete visibility of activity and performance across the entire network in real-time, aggregated in an intuitive dashboard format. Users can drill down and interact with a wide range of monitoring indicators. They can analyze performance against best practice, review historical data and generate detailed insight reports.
The platform also incorporates LIT Predict advanced prediction algorithms. The technology developed by LIT generates the most accurate arrival predictions, in real-time and in an open data format. It can also automatically analyze data accuracy for every element of the transit network.
Embedding this technology into Mwasalat Misr core business operations has significantly enhanced performance, lowered costs and increased profitability. Ultimately, it has resulted in a much better service experience, on a par with other cities around the world, which has improved the attractiveness of public transit in Cairo.
The new platform gave controllers improved situation awareness, command, control and decision-making capabilities. This led to rapid resolution of critical success factors that experienced ongoing difficulty. For the first time, the operator had control over schedule adherence. This improved punctuality and drastically limited dwell time for passengers, achieving a 3.4 minute mean absolute variance from trip start. Additionally, by monitoring headway, Mwasalat Misr could make real-time adjustments which have had a direct positive reflection on revenues.
Amidst fuel price hikes, Mwasalat Misr has maintained its position as a superior service provider offering trip prices lower than rivals. This is largely down to the operator’s ability to more efficiently manage its fleet of 592 buses through 52 fixed routes, with defined schedules and bus stops that are visible online.
The system from LIT generates real-time open data in GTFS format which feeds into passenger information systems. Amongst the many firsts, Cairo was the first city in Africa and the Middle East to become available on Google Transit.
“For the first time in Africa, our customers can plan their trip in advance. They know when their ride will arrive and how long their journey will take in real-time, through our award-winning trip planning platform and mobile app.
“The excellent AI incorporated into the system has helped us to provide accurate arrival predictions, which keeps passengers happy and has resulted in an increase in ridership. This is quite an achievement given Cairo’s heavy traffic. It takes into consideration the traffic patterns at different times of year, days of the week and time of the day. This helps us to adjust schedules to maintain a steady service.
“Thanks to the smart mobility technology from LIT, we are firmly at the forefront of digital innovation in public transport in Egypt. In fact, Africa!”
With the intelligent prediction algorithms developed by LIT and embedded into the platform, the real-time passenger information generated is very accurate.
Mwasalat Misr has also linked its CAD/AVL data with Cairo Metro, enabling it to extend its reach beyond the metropolitan area with multi-modal journey planning.
As the first to introduce smart mobility technologies in Cairo, the city can look forward to a more sustainable future where public transport is a favorable, pleasant experience. In partnership with Eazy Mobility, LIT continues to support Mwasalat Misr with new functionality.
Mwasalat Misr strives to be a model of excellence for the industry, there is potential for other cities in Egypt and across Africa to adopt these more advanced approaches to public transport.
This article was originally published by LIT Transit.
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