[UPDATE: Saturday Commutes Added] E-bus App SWVL Takes Long-distance Trips Beyond Nakuru



[Update] Saturday commutes

SWVL says it will start serving certain parts of the city on weekends (Saturday). In the past, the company operated from Monday to Friday only. We hope this development will grow into a 7-day operation in the coming days.

Original story 

Egyptian e-bus app SWVL is expanding its operations with long-distance commutes.

The app, which, with Little Shuttle, has faced a fair share of regulatory hurdles by the NTSA, and has been trying to appeal to as many people as possible in Nairobi and those who want to take comfortable and organized trips outside the crowded city.

The company came to Kenya in early 2019, deployed pilots before rolling out services officially halfway in the year.

The new routes will customers traveling to Naivasha, Eldoret and Meru. These routes add to Nakuru that served as the first destination for long-distance trips in December.

This is an interesting development that may, in part, indicate that the firm is not going anywhere after it dedicated KES 1.5 billion for the Kenyan market.

A few days ago, it was rumoured that SWVL had not compensated driver-partners. Some captains said that they had met their end of the deal, but SWVL was dragging its feet to pay them, with some claiming they were owed up to KES 100,000.

That aside, SWVL trips within the city have been going on well. I am one of their customers, and there is not much to complain about so far.

Drivers have been arriving at my stage in a timely manner (this is not always the case in other destinations because the city is littered with a lot of people and vehicles at some spots, which, in the end creates bad traffic), and those promo codes hit my phone on a Sunday evening as clockwork.

However, it appears the wealthy transport app has dropped free rides, which is not surprising because, well, they are here to do business and not to dish out free trips.

Also, the current promo codes are slashing KES 135 out of the KES 200 base fare. That is substantial by any metrics, but I am reasonably certain that codes’ days are numbered.

Here is my hope: that the base fare will be revised to a lower value like KES 150. Anything above that will push a lot of loyal customers away, including yours truly because I am not bourgeoisie enough to trade cheap transportation for convenience. I am sure I speak for many others.

For the moment, enjoy trips to the aforementioned towns with up to 40% off the base fare.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]