Joburg’s Pothole Patrol gets extra smart
App and WhatsApp bot enables residents to report potholes and speed up the City of Joburg’s campaign to fix the roads
Joburg’s Pothole Patrol has added a smartphone app for city residents to log requests as City of Joburg and insurance companies Dialdirect and Discovery Insure step up their campaign against potholes on the metro.
Previously, the Joburg Roads Agency would inform the insurers where to send crews, but the app and a WhatsApp bot will enable residents to log pothole locations to be prioritised for repair and speed up repairs. The Pothole Patrol app also geolocates potholes and provides real-time progress on repairs.
The launch of the app was hosted by the insurance companies and attended by transport minister Fikile Mbalula, Joburg mayor Mpho Moerane and MMC for transport Nonhlanhla Makhuba.
Mbalula emphasised the need for such partnerships with government.
“As government we cannot solve all of the problems. We need communities, corporates and innovation to assist us to make our country great,” he said.
More than 50,000 potholes have been repaired since the start of the campaign, according to Anneli Retief, the head of Dialdirect’s Johannesburg operations.
“Our priority is ensuring that we play our part in making this country work. By investing time and money in fixing roads, civilian life is improved and, importantly, safer as potholes not only damage vehicles but also cause accidents,” Retief said.
Pothole Patrol crews operate purpose-built trucks that carry all of the equipment needed and are able to fix a single-lane-wide rut in just 20 minutes.
Discovery Insure CEO Anton Ossip said while there was no direct monetary gain in the programme, the return on investment is evident and derived through fewer claims on damages to vehicles.
“We are pleased to take the partnership forward as we embark on the next phase, using the app and deepening our use of telematics to identify the areas most sorely requiring intervention by the Pothole Patrol,” Ossip said.
“Road users can easily and conveniently report potholes they come across in the city by inserting the specific location to ensure their speedy repairs and also monitor work progress.”
The Pothole Patrol app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Alternatively, WhatsApp “Hi” to 084 768 4653 or (084 POT HOLE) and follow the prompts.
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