Kenya: NTSA Arrests Swvl Drivers, Impounds Vehicles in Operating License Row

15 February 2020

The National Transport Authority (NTSA) on Friday impounded vehicles belonging to ride-hailing app Swvl which were said to be operating without a Public Service Vehicle licence.

Some of the Swvl drivers were also arrested during the operation, according to the Swvl CEO Mostafa Kandil.

Buses belonging to the Egypt based firm had been operating on some routes with a Tour Service Licence in defiance of strict NTSA regulations.

On Friday, NTSA said it had asked the police to impound Swvl vehicles and charge the owners.

According to Kandil, the arrests are based on the status of the operating licenses of their partners, and not Swvl's own compliance.

"We are continuing to ascertain the cause for the issue with the partner drivers' operating licenses. Once we are able to confirm what the issue is, we shall communicate it to our captains and suppliers. We shall inform all affected users through the in-app services of potential delays on the routes once we collect all the relevant information," he said.

Last year, drivers attached to the matatu-hailing app caved to pressure from the transport regulator by halting services on most of its routes in Nairobi.

The app service notified users that it was experiencing disruptions on its routes and was working on compliance with the rules laid out by the NTSA.

NTSA had earlier asked the police to impound Swvl vehicles and charge its crew and owners, accusing the company of using a tour service licence for public service vehicle operations which require a different permit.

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