Nairobi News

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Bus-hailing app Swvl back on Nairobi routes after suspension

Egypt-based bus-hailing app Swvl on Tuesday announced the resumption of its regular commuter services across Nairobi County as it aims to scale up operations in the country.

Swvl, a bus sharing service in Nairobi, said this will add to their recently launched innovations; Swvl Carpool and Swvl Travel, and is part of its strategic agenda to serve everyday commuters during the ‘new normal’.

The General Manager for Swvl in Kenya, Dip Patel, said during the Covid-19 pandemic period, the company took its time to analyse the patterns and needs of its Kenyan commuters.

“We identified the areas of change and have used the information to advise our new innovations and the decision to fully restart our regular rides service across the city. Our aim is to ensure that we provide a service for every kind of commuter in the country,” he said.

Swvl had reduced the number of routes covered by its regular rides service at the onset of the pandemic, owing to the low number of regular commuters within the capital city at the time.

The company had paused all its rides due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation even as the service had become popular with commuters since it was launched in February 2019.

Swvl’s regular commuter services will now be available across Nairobi.

In 2019, the firm was forced to halt its services on most routes in Nairobi after the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) asked the digital public transporters to cease operations or face arrests for operating under Tour Service License by engaging in commuter services.

The app service notified its users that it was experiencing disruptions on its routes and was working on complying with the rules laid out by NTSA before the ban was lifted in May.

The app-based service allows users to book trips using their mobile devices and the app notifies the user of the nearest pick-up point, price and scheduled departure times.

Last year, the company launched the Swvl Travel service, which operates round trips to and from six towns in Kenya, namely Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kisii and Mombasa.

Mr Patel said they will continue to collaborate with existing players in the transport industry to create an efficient system supported by their technology.

“Anyone with the necessary documentation is free to approach us and once taken through the verification and onboarding process can operate via our platform,” he added.

All the services will operate as per the guidelines from the Ministry of Health, observing the capacity restrictions in place, and all suppliers on the platform must have the required documents and licenses.

The services are all available via the Swvl app.