Kenya: Bus Ride-Hailing Services to Resume

14 November 2019

Matatu-hailing app SWVL is set to resume operations by the end of November when it fully complies with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) regulations.

The shuttle-hailing firm has also announced that new routes have been added to its offering, including Thika-Westlands, Ngong-Westlands and Kahawa-Kilimani.

The app-based public service transport operator that launched in Nairobi in February this year, was suspended alongside another similar platform, Little Shuttle, in September for allegedly operating shuttle services illegally and without proper PSV licenses.

But issuing an update on the firm's development locally and giving a definite direction on its course in the near future, the firm indicated that it has been engaged in continuing discussions with the NTSA and it is nearing full compliance, and will be entirely covered under the requisite laws by the end of the month.

"In our goal to provide commuters with a safe, convenient and efficient mass transport option, we have had our challenges. We are still in engagement with NTSA and we remain committed to finding a way forward. We believe our solution is transformational and we are happy that the NTSA is willing to engage us and find a way forward," said SWVL Kenya General Manager, Shivachi Muleji.

SWVL had earlier this week informed its customers that until it is fully compliant, some of its rides may be affected and even suffer cancellations. The most affected areas were Kasarani, Wangige, Jogoo Road, Westlands and Kiambu.

These have however started to resume full operations on some routes with Utawala, Mlolongo and all Eastlands routes have returned to normalcy.

Mr Muleji indicated that the company has been growing and there has been strong commuter support for its bus-hailing app.

"We have always highlighted our commitment to observing the law and building a compliant service that will offer commuters a safe, convenient and comfortable transport service. We will continue this drive and do everything required of the business to achieve our goal," said Mostafa Kandil, SWVL's co-founder and CEO.

Earlier this week, in compliance with the directive of the NTSA, the Egypt-based bus-hailing app which allows its users to book trips using their mobile devices, and notifies them of the nearest pick-up point, price and time by the bus, halted its services on most routes in Nairobi.

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