E-bus app SWVL started operations in Kenya in early 2019. It has since gained a mass following because the Matatu space in Kenya is chaotic, and there are people who are willing to pay more provided there is a solution that offers some organization, sanity, and order – and that is what SWVL has been doing.
Yesterday, the app informed users that it would stop operations after NTSA, the transport regulator, compelled it to comply with some regulations. We have since gone through some of those details, but as a recap, NTSA wants SWVL and Little Shuttle to register as Matatu Saccos. Little was against the idea, and we have the feeling SWVL does not wish to do so too because Saccos and transport apps operate on entirely different models.
Little Shuttle has since bounced back, but it only runs 8-seater cars in place of larger vehicles. SWVL, on the other hand, has been ferrying people with all categories of vehicles, and we had previously wondered why it was receiving preferential treatment from NTSA.
Now, some of you may have noted that SWVL is not completely off the roads, at least for the time being. Today, some people were able to catch a ride or two, but others reported mass cancellations.
The app’s Kenya General Manager Shivachi Muleji says that the organization is experiencing disruptions in some routes, including Kasarani, Wangige, Jogoo Road, Westlands, and Kiambu. No details have been given, but as the script goes, it won’t take them long before issues are addressed.
Now, about their case with NTSA: SWVL says it is working with relevant regulators to make sure that it adheres to NTSA’s rulebook in a few weeks.
“We are working closely with regulators to ensure that our drivers are all compliant in the next few weeks. Until we achieve full compliance, some of our rides may be canceled and we will have to monitor our routes closely,” says the GM.
SWVL insists that it will bounce back to normal operations as soon as December kicks in.
For the moment, the affected people, including yours truly can only sit back and look forward to a swift resolution.