E-shuttle app SWVL has officially launched in the Kenyan market. The Egyptian firm has been in the local space for the last couple of months, having started pilot-based operations in early 2019.
The official launch in the country is also accompanied by a planned investment of KES 1.5 billion in local operations. The funds will be used to scale SWVL’s business into other towns and routes. SWVL did not specify which new towns will see its services besides expanding its scope outside the capital city.
SWVL started serving customers in select routes in Nairobi. The courses have since grown to 55, and will continuously increase as the app nets more vehicles and drivers, and gains popularity.
The launch event was graced by SWVL’s CEO and co-founder Mostafa Kandil, who echoed the city’s traffic problems. “Kenya is a market with a need for a stable solution for the perennial traffic snarl-ups and SWVL believes that we can be of great benefit to the local consumer and the transport sector as a whole,” said Mr. Kandil. “We are very excited to provide a solution that makes the lives of Kenyans easier whilst proving beneficial to the Kenyan transport sector,” he added.
For context, SWVL does not operate like other ride-hailing apps like Uber, where drivers sign a commission-based agreement. Instead, it leases buses, and drivers receive a standard fee whether they drop many or zero customers from one point to another.
SWVL, which has been running a series of promotions will, before the year ends, introduce a time- and distance-based billing system as is the case with similar products. This is also part of the official launch exercise.
“I believe the potential for growth and value creation is tremendous and given the different entities providing varied solutions, and we are looking to fill a gap that has yet to be sufficiently covered by what is already available. That is what has prompted us to expand our route offering to match the convenience of ride-hailing services but at the same time matching the capacity provided by the traditional matatu industry for an even larger customer base than we have before”, said Shivachi Muleji, SWVL General Manager for Kenya.