Bus-hailing app Swvl introduces long distance shuttles
Egypt-based bus-hailing app Swvl on Wednesday started rolling out a platform that will allow commuters to use it in booking long-distance travel in Kenya, as part of their travel service.
Swvl, a bus sharing service in Nairobi, will operate to 12 destinations from Nairobi including Naivasha, Nakuru, Molo, Eldoret, Narok, Bomet, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Nyeri, Nanyuki and Machakos through the Swvl app.
Dip Patel, the General Manager for Swvl in Kenya, said in a statement, that they are constantly innovating for the Kenyan commuter to provide them with safe, tech-enabled commutes that make it easier for them to travel.
“We are looking to make it easier for Kenyans to make their journeys upcountry, especially as we approach the festive season next month. This desire is what prompted us to partner with the matatu saccos who already provide this service and help them in streamlining the process of filling up their vehicles by giving them a digital platform,” he said.
The service will be accessible to all commuters through the Swvl app and users can pre-book their rides in a similar manner to their regular Swvl rides in Nairobi.
Patel said rides will operate on fixed timings and fixed prices adding that the service will be rolled out progressively in the coming weeks.
Long-distance travel operators who would like to operate on the app shall continue to be added on the app as well.
The company was forced to halt its services on most routes in Nairobi last year after National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) asked the digital public transporters to cease operations or face arrests for operating under Tour Service License but engaging in commuter services.
The app service notified users that it was experiencing disruptions on its routes and was working on compliance with the rules laid out by NTSA before the ban was lifted in May.
The company had paused all its rides due to the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
According to Swvl, NTSA is willing to look into developing the regulatory framework in place to encompass user and industry-driven technological advancements, which will help to fill the gap that exists in regards to regulating technology platforms in the transport industry.
The app-based services allow users to book trips using their mobile devices and 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 the regular commuters matatus.