You probably know SWVL by now, and for the newbies out there, they are an Egyptian ride hailing company that is making waves in Nairobi. They have pumped a lot of money to the Kenyan market and it is shown with their promo codes that Nairobians use daily. They introduced their ride hailing service early this year that competes directly with matatus and it has caused them problems with the NTSA.
Their problems with NTSA aside, it seems like that is not drowning their spirits. They have announced a new service called SWVL Travel and they are coming for the long distance market.
Tomorrow, SWVL will launch SWVL Travel and for a start, they will give people 60% off travel rides from Nairobi to Naivasha or Nakuru. This is from a mass text and notification that they have sent to SWVL users today. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you get it and you bet there will be a few vehicles that will be designated to ply that route initially.
This move is not entirely new. Little, its competitor, had a similar service called LongHaul Shuttle which initially gave people free rides during launch day. It was kind of successful initially since they said it was fully booked for the next two weeks.
Clearly, the demand is there and that is probably what SWVL is looking to venture into. Legacy operators who operate that route won’t be too happy to hear this news as ride hailing services are slowly eating into their markets that have remained in the 20th century forever.
This news also follows NTSA’s draft regulations that have been formulated, which if they became law, will impose a number of regulations on digital hailing services like SWVL. Well, 2020 will be an interesting year for this new industry.