Could SA’s City One Be The Next Big Ridesharing Startup?

You pay when you ride and may cancel, without charge, in advance, for any trips you can't make.

Co-founders Simphiwe Kuse and Gugulethu Mhlanga
Co-founders Simphiwe Kuse and Gugulethu Mhlanga

What if we told you that there’s a new local app out there which operates much like any other call-a-cab system except you share your ride with others.

What if this app could save you more money every day?

We’re talking about a ridesharing app that links to other fellow travellers so that you can share the space and fare.

City One is a new South African ridesharing service designed to offer a viable alternative to the daily commute in a self-driven vehicle.

You tell City One what time you expect to leave, from where, and your destination. City One then links you to others in your vicinity who’re travelling at the same time in the same general direction, and bingo; you’re sharing the space and the fare. And make no mistake; the savings are big. Not to mention being better for the environment and the elimination of parking hassles.

Suppose you don’t connect with your fellow passengers or your driver? No problem City One will provide a range of alternative rides.

Your City One driver has been subjected to a number of stringent tests – for driving ability, character and trustworthiness.

What’s more, there are no charges involved in booking. You pay when you ride and may cancel, without charge, in advance, for any trips you can’t make.

The brainchild of two former roommates, City One is the smart commuters' App
The brainchild of two former roommates, City One is the smart commuters’ App


Founded by Gugulethu Mhlanga and Simphiwe Kuse, who believe that, if many young people are taught the skill of coding, they could go on to establish their own companies that might solve many of Africa’s biggest struggles – from health, crime, finance, and transport to food security and education.

Mhlanga, who comes from Zimbabwe, moved to Cape Town in 2010 and studied two years of mechanical engineering at UCT before he had to drop out of his studies due to lack of funds. He started a journey learning how to build iOS apps with no knowledge of coding and was hooked by what apps could do. He decided to defer his studies indefinitely. While holding a series of full-time jobs, he learnt to code at night and weekends.

Kuse grew up in Engcobo, a small rural town in the Eastern Cape. It was while studying philosophy, public policy and politics at the University of Cape Town that he met Mhlanga. After graduation, he worked for the South African Government in various departments.

By the third year of coding, Mhlanga was working as a junior interface designer for small start-ups and had a fitness app published to the App Store.

And then the idea for his breakout app City One was born.

“My commute to work was with a housemate who owned a car while we both lived in Athlone, Cape Town. Every morning I would watch as people drove alone in their cars while struggling with traffic congestion, rising fuel prices and parking costs. It made sense that sharing vehicles would be an efficient way to commute but motivating people to do so and putting strangers in touch with each other would be very difficult,” he explains.

Hence, he called on his former roommate Kuse to be partners in building City One.

City One can be used in Joburg and Cape Town initially.


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