SWVL, the Egyptian rideshare company with operations in Kenya has announced that they have received a green light from NTSA to carry out their operations going forward.
“We are pleased that we have resolved all issues with the NTSA and that’s extremely important for us,” Dip Patel, General Manager for SWVL in Kenya said. “We have continued to engage with the NTSA to arrive at a framework that will support technology-enabled transport solutions and take Kenya to the next level,” he said.
SWVL Kenya’s General Manager also said that they will steadily bring back their operations once we exit the lockdown. However, SWVL will continue to operate its corporate ride services during this time.
Interestingly enough, the company will begin onboarding existing bus owners and public transport saccos post lockdown. That is quite ambitious of them and we will see how that will transpire.
SWVL also says that NTSA will also look to working on updating the existing regulations to accommodate tech enablers providing transportation based solutions. That is in fact true and they have been working on these draft regulations for a while now.
The company also announced that it will restructure its team and customer support systems. This will enable quicker responses to their queries and complaints.
SWVL started operations in Kenya early last year and they became popular as they moved to more satelitte towns around Nairobi. They raised Kshs 1.5 billion for operations in Nairobi, which made them a serious threat to the matatu business. They became popular thanks to their promo codes which subsidized the cost, which were free at some point. The fact that they were cheaper than matatu fare at some point was very attractive to a lot of users.
However, they started to lock horns with NTSA. In November, SWVL suspended their services in Kenya to comply with NTSA regulations. This was a month after their competitor, Little Shuttle, had shut down their service over similar licensing issues. wanted NTSA and SWVL to register as Matatu Saccos and Little was against the idea. During that time, SWVL said that they were working with regulators so that they adhere to NTSA’s rulebook. This year, it was reported that NTSA wanted SWVL’s CEO and Co-founder to be prosecuted so as to compel the company to cease operations in the country.