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Little Shuttle suspends services, again, as rivals SWVL unveil long-distance trips

Ride hailing service company, Little Shuttle, on Wednesday announced the suspension of their services for an indefinite period even as their rivals SWVL launched long-distance trips.

In a statement posted online, Little Shuttle termed the latest suspension of their services as temporary, without stating what has informed the decision.

They also didn’t give a definite timeline for the suspension or when their services will be back.

SUSPENDED

In September 2019, the National Transport and Safety Authority suspended vehicles operating under Little Shuttle and SWVL saying they were illegally operating shuttle services without the required PSV licenses.

The authority indicated the shuttle buses run by the two firms were operating commuter services using Tours Service License (TSL), which it said, violated the provisions of the PSV Regulations.

In November, SWVL announced that it had fully complied with the NTSA regulations and resumed its operations with new routes been added to its offering, including Thika-Westlands, Ngong-Westlands and Kahawa-Kilimani.

The platform has also added Eldoret town after quietly launching its commuter services to Naivasha, Meru and Nakuru routes days to the Christmas holidays.

The fare from Nairobi to Eldoret is Sh1,200 while travelling to Nakuru or Naivasha from the capital city costs Sh1,000 on each of the routes.

SWVL has also added multiple routes from Nairobi’s central business district, including Ruai, Kiserian and Ngong.

NEW ROUTES

The new routes add to its previous 55 connections. The app, which had downsized its operations over the Christmas holidays citing low demand, resumed full operations on Monday.

“Long distance travel is a viable business segment for us and you will see a lot more investment into it as we get into this year,” SWVL general manager Shivachi Muleji said.

SWVL and Little Shuttle’s app-based services allow users to book trips using their mobile devices.

The apps notify users of the nearest pick-up point, price and scheduled departure times.

The driver’s contact and registration number of the vehicle as well as live map update appear on the app interface for easy identification once the buses arrive.

Both services have been popular with Nairobi’s working class looking for comfort and who were keen to avoid the chaos associated with matatus.