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KHWELA-MOBILITY ACCESS TRANSPORT

Khwela-Mobility aims to provides commuting options for people with disabilities in order to reach their social and economic destinations

Photo of Lubabalo Mbeki

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What problem does your idea solve?

Transport remains largely inaccessible and unreasonably costly to persons with disabilities. Without accessible transport, millions of people with disabilities are unable to leave their homes or go to welfare services, children are are unable to go school and adults are an to work. Khwela-Mobility therefore is a solution connecting between disabled people from their living places to workplaces, schools, community events and shopping activities with guaranteed accessibility and affordability.

Explain your idea

Khwela_Mobility a is solution that delivers a fully-fledged transport facility for people with disabilities which is resourced with: a) disability-adapted passenger vehicles, b) a software application for users to make a pick-up request / booking at any given time, c) a call operator center for clients organisations to make booking on behalf of their beneficiaries, community groups or employees with disabilities, and d) well-trained drivers to transport people with different types of disabilities to the various destinations. This transport facility provides for groups of people with disabilities to their workplaces, to interviews, to schools and universities, to community or social events,and for individual pickups to shopping and business activities. Khwela-Mobility also allows people with disabilities, their employers and their service organisations to be able to trigger an rraccess transport call at any given time with our KHWELA_ABILITY User-App (software development in progress) which is to be downloadable on smartphones, or making online bookings from desktop internet or even make a telephone call to our operates center. An accessible vehicle for a group or an individual with a disability needing transport will then be dispatched by the system or manually by our staff at the operator center.

Who benefits?

Our primary beneficiaries are individuals with disabilities, including: jobseekers, workers, school learners, college & university students, businessmen and generally all commuters with disabilities. Our secondary target are private or public employers, disabled peoples organisations, educational institutions , recruitment agents and self-help groups by people with disabilities. This solution caters for people with ALL types of Disabilities of ALL AGES and will be implemented across S.A.

How is your idea unique?

This solution has a unique advantage to any other transport provider given the fact that our operational resources and entire plan are seriously diversified to take into account the accessibility, affordability and availability of the transportation service to people with disability as our core strategic value, hence become the preferred choice of call by all disabled citizens. The incorporation of accessible resources (vehicles) with modern-day technology and disability-sensitive personnel also makes our solution to standout from the rest and positions us to extra advantage from any transport providers in the country.

Tell us more about you

I am Lubabalo Mbeki who is a male with a disability and I have established my own company, Dimensional Access Techniques, in 2013. I'm based in Johannesburg, South Africa and I work with a part-time professional consultants in developing my business ideas and I also hire temporary staff for various projects. The development of my business is also supported by the SAB Foundation and Technology Innovation Agency of S.A since presenting the idea to them in 2016. I am responsible to devote my time.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

A business plan for this solution has been completed. But the one thing really outstanding from this solution is the payment methods that are to be used by the individuals who will use our systems as this is a little tricky, hence the system is being majorly designed for people to travel as groups. Also the best payment methods that can be used by organisations or companies who will be using this services on behalf of their beneficiaries or employees with disabilities. The other issue, is whether I want to operate the solution as fully owned by my private entity or would it be best to sell some % of ownership to be a state-owned or collateral entity.

Where will your idea be implemented?

  • South Africa

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

Idea Maturity

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

How has your idea changed based on feedback?

During this phase, Khwela Mobility conducted 2 types of transportation survey with 13 Disabled Organisations under the South African Disability Alliance and 50 Individuals with different types of disabilities from across the provinces in South Africa. Based on user-feedback, our strategy on partnerships with organisations and user specification, especially regarding the different types of disabilities, has tremendously improved. For the deaf, Khwela Mobility has resolved to integrate request of services through different forms of communications, particularly by WhatsApp, Instant Messaging and Emailing. We have also decided to install communication button by the seat which can be pressed by the deaf passenger to alert the driver at the next convenient stop. For the blind, Khwela Mobility plans to install Public Address (PA) system in our vehicles to enable drivers to regularly inform blind of where about they are on the journey and important updates during the trip.

Who will implement this idea?

Lubabalo Mbeki is the founder and CEO of the Khwela Mobility. He will be the main person to devote his time to make this Khwela Mobility a reality. Alongside, we have Mr Duly Peer who is a Business Systems for Khwela Mobility. Other staff Members to be recruited are 5 Vehicle Drivers, 3 call operators, 1 Marketing Officer, 1 Sales Officer and 1 Administrative Assistant. This is a total of 12 staff who will be located at the head office in Johannesburg where the project will be initiated.

Using a human-centered design approach, you may uncover insights that lead to small or foundational changes to your organization’s existing strategy or processes in order to unlock the potential of your idea. How would your organization go about making such changes?

Khwela Mobility will develop an operational plan in accordance with the encounters and experience gained over the test / prototyping periods and the Amplify Feedback Phase in order to strategically detect, assess and verify critical drivers and key components for a robust implementation of an ideal operations plan. We will also formulate a team of experts on disability, innovation, business development, finance, sales and marketing skills that will ensure good decision making to our venture. Khwela also Mobility plans to have an advisory board which will be inclusive of disability organisations that represent the various types of disabilities in South Africa in order to capture well the voices of diverse disabilities.

What is it that most attracted you to Amplify instead of a more traditional funding model?

The most attractive thing about the Amplify is the fact that it is a disability-focused funding initiative (bringing out the most of the ideas to make a world a better place for people with disabilities, hence Khwela Mobility hence is a disability inclusion initiative as well. We were also attracted by that Amplify gives guidance to us participants and by the commitment and collaboration by experts throughout the completion.

What challenges do your end-users face? (1) What is the biggest challenge that your end-users face on a day-to-day, individual level? (2) What is the biggest systems-level challenge that affects your end-users?

The biggest challenge a commuter with disability faces daily basis is the non-availability of accessible vehicles for them to reach their daily destinations (whether to mall, school, work, university, social event…etc). The majority, estimated 95%, of the transport industry in South African is not accessibility for people with disabilities. The biggest challenge system-level challenge is the non-availability of the existing accessible vehicles for people with all types of disabilities in order to commute to their social and economic locations. The existing accessible vehicles are either hardly available and are expensive for a vast majority of people with disabilities, especially the low-income and unemployed groups.

Tell us about your vision for this project: (1) share one sentence about the impact you would like to see from this project in five years and (2) what is the biggest question you need to answer to get there?

IMPACT: Khwela Mobility aims to deliver access transport services in South Africa, transporting about 90 000 individuals with disabilities to their social and economic destinations by 2022. QUESTION: How do we calibrate our business model and operational strategy to meet this long-desired need without compromising quality, accessibility and affordability in order to reach at least a 500 000 of needy commuters with disabilities from all walks of life in the 9 provinces of South Africa by 2025?

How long have you and your colleagues been working on this idea together?

  • Between 1 and 2 years

How many of your team’s paid, full-time staff are currently based in the location where the beneficiaries of your proposed idea live?

  • Under 5 paid, full-time staff

Is your organization registered in the country you intend to implement your idea in?

  • We are registered in all countries where we plan to implement.

My organization's operational budget for 2016 was:

  • Under $50,000 USD

If your team/idea/organization has a website, please share the URL below.

Website: www.accesstechniques.co.za Facebook: Khwela Mobility Twitter: @Khwela_SA

15 comments

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Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Lubabalo, thanks for sharing the work you are doing!

Can you share a few sentences about your early prototypes and what you've learned?

Excited to learn more!

Photo of Lubabalo Mbeki
Team

Hi Ashley,

Firstly, the prototyping tests were done from year 2013 to 2016. I must say, this was was quite a revealing and thought awakening exercise about the transport challenges and needs of people with disabilities on commuting around their cities, townships and even rural areas. With all the requests and services that I was able to provide to individuals with disabilities, their employers, their agents and service organisations, I was able to learn the following lessons.
1. Almost all modes of transport remain to very costly and non-accessible for many people with disabilities in the country, South Africa, more especially for wheelchair-users .
2. People with disabilities, particularly with mobility impairments, are struggling on a daily basis commuting to their workplaces In many cases, they have to connect on 2 or more taxis and also walk an extra distance before reaching their working destination. By the time they reach their work premises they are already tired and frustrated by the systems hassles and this also affects productivity. This also applies on commuting to schools and travelling for any other activity such as leisure and shopping or business.
3. Some metered taxi still charge double rates for wheelchair users.
4. Some taxi drivers are still reluctant to pick passengers who are using wheelchairs.
5. All drivers need training on how to meet the needs of commuters with disabilities and providing sensitive transport and customer care services to passengers with different types of disabilities.
5. There are very few accessible vehicles dedicated for people with disabilities in the entire country and those that some organisations have are hardly available to meet needs of many people with disabilities.
6. Most providers that have accessible vehicles charge very high rates which are not affordable to disabled individuals, especially those earning low-income and the employed.
6. People with disabilities disabilities are desiring for an accessible transport that affordable, easily available and flexible for their broader needs.
7. People with disabilities are willing to pay for the transport services provided that it is accessible and affordable for them.
7. Corporate employers and service organisations of people with disabilities are willing to pay or compensate for their employees and / or members with disabilities given that the access transportation idea is well-presented to them.
8. Khwela Mobility is or could be that long-desired solution for many individuals with disabilities and organisations country wide to improve and enable the mobility of people with disabilities from location to location.
9. Integrating Technology is a very critical element in developing of a transport solution in the modern days to improve process, efficiently and user access to the service. Hence, we are also developing a software for the entire facility and for users with disabilities.
10. As a transport provider, it also key to have ownership of your own accessible vehicles to minimize dependency from others and have ability to control minimized expenses. Thus also implementing the most affordable pricing methods for your users with disabilities.

These are the most important lessons we have been learn along the way and we continue to learn as we go.

Photo of Lubabalo Mbeki
Team

Hi Ashley,

Firstly, the prototyping tests were done from year 2013 to 2016. I must say, this was was quite a revealing and thought awakening ongoing exercises about the transport challenges and needs of people with disabilities in commuting around their cities, townships and even rural areas. With all the requests and services that I was able to provide to individuals with disabilities, employers of people with disabilities and agents of people with disabilities, I was able to learn the following lessons.
1. Almost all modes of transport remain to very costly for many people with disabilities in the country, South Africa, more especially for wheelchair-user.
2. People with disabilities, particularly with mobility impairments, are struggling commuting to their workplaces everyday. In many cases, they have to connect on 2 or more taxis and also walk an extra distance before reaching their working destination. By the time they reach their work premises their are already tired and this also affects productivity. This also applies on going to schools and travelling for any other activity such as leisure and shopping.
3. Some metered taxi still charge double rates for wheelchair users.
4. Some taxi drivers are still reluctant to pick passengers who are using wheelchairs.
5. All drivers need training on how to meet the needs of commuters with disabilities and providing sensitive transport and customer care services to passengers with different types of disabilities.
5. There are very few accessible vehicles dedicated for people with disabilities in the entire country and those that some organisations have are hardly available to meet the diverse commuting needs of many people with disabilities.
6. Most providers that have accessible vehicles charge very high rates which are not affordable to disabled individuals, especially those earning low-income and the employed.
6. People with disabilities disabilities are desiring for an accessible transport that affordable, easily available and flexible for their broader needs.
7. People with disabilities are willing to pay for the transport services provided that it is accessible and affordable for them.
7. Corporate employers and service organisations of people with disabilities are willing to pay or compensate for their employers or members with disabilities given that the access transportation idea is well-presented to them.
8. Khwela Mobility is or could be that long-desired solution for many individuals with disabilities and organisation country wide to improve and enable the mobility of people with disabilities form location to location.
9. Technology is very critical part of the transport in the current days to improve process, efficiently and user access to the service.
10. As a transport provider, it also key to have ownership of your own accessible vehicles to minimize dependency from others and have ability to control minimized expenses. Thus also implementing the most affordable pricing methods for your users with disabilities.

These are the most important lessons we have been learn along the way and we continue to learn as we go.

Photo of Lubabalo Mbeki
Team

Hi Ashley, do you know how to updoad user experience map ? I am struggling to find the upload button and its only 2 hours left for the phase to close.

Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Lubabalo, I am very sorry I missed this note, but I saw you were able to upload your map. Thank you so much for your incredibly thoughtful and thorough responses throughout the challenge!

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