Contxto – Getting around a big city using its transportation system can be tough. Heck, it’s a task even Google Maps can’t fully resolve. As a result, developers in major metropolitan areas have created applications to guide users through the mess of bus, subway, and even trolley routes.
And now the boricua capital of San Juan is the latest city to launch its own transportation app called Guawa.
It’s important to point out that Guawa is still in its beta phase, but residents and travelers can find it free for download in the Apple store. The Android version should be available soon.
PR’s first transportation system app
As Guawa currently stands, it helps users find train and bus stops for some parts of the San Juan region. And it can calculate an estimated waiting time and fare cost. Not all locations and routes are displayed just yet.
“The idea is to continue adding routes and developing the application to make it economically viable,” stated Giancarlo González, one of the minds behind the app.
Guawa got on its feet through a US$20,000 grant from the Department of Economic Development in 2017.
A bumpy road behind and ahead
However, getting Guawa to its beta state hasn’t been easy.
The app’s leading team of González, Edrick Ortiz, and Víctor Ramírez reported that it’s been an uphill negotiation obtaining GPS feed.
While in other countries, people can easily access public GPS systems for civilian use, that’s not Puerto Rico’s case.
For this reason, Guawa’s team has had to develop its own GPS trackers. Likewise, it seeks to appeal to the Puerto Rican authorities to receive access to this invaluable information.
“There’s no application like this in Puerto Rico, not even an international one [like Moovit] because there’s no access to the government’s data. This makes it impossible for these applications to work,” explained González.
Dealing with the government will be added to the team’s to-do list, alongside with making Guawa economically viable.