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Bus-hailing app Swvl given greenlight to resume operations in Kenya

Egypt-based bus-hailing app Swvl has finally complied with transport regulator, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), and can now operate in the country.

Dip Patel, the General Manager for Swvl in Kenya, said in a statement that the green light on compliance from the NTSA will be a major boost to the company.


“We are pleased that we have resolved all issues with the NTSA and that’s extremely important for us. Once we exit the lockdown, we will be able to steadily bring back our operations and we can now show our corporate customers that we have met all the regulatory requirements,”said Mr Patel.

The company was forced to halt their services on most routes in Nairobi last year after NTSA asked the digital public transporters to cease operations or face arrests for operating under Tour Service License but engaging in commuter services.

The app service notified users that it was experiencing disruptions on its routes and was working on compliance with the rules laid out by NTSA by the end of the month.

The company has currently paused all its rides due to the pandemic situation. However, it says that it is very ready to resume operations again once an exit date is confirmed for the current pandemic lockdown.

Post lockdown, Swvl will begin on boarding existing bus owners and public transport saccos, in their bid to benefit the entire ecosystem with a more inclusive approach.

According to Swvl, NTSA is willing to look into developing the regulatory framework in place to encompass user and industry-driven technological advancements which will help to fill the gap that exists in regards to regulating technology platforms in the transport industry.


“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. This is because, at the end of the day, our goals are the same,” Mr Patel said.

“We both endeavour to develop an efficient transportation system for commuters that is safe, reliable, convenient and affordable. We are excited to be able to continue our operations and we are very pleased about the consideration of the regulatory framework to incorporate technological developments coming up in the industry,” he added.

The NTSA, on its part, has stated that subject to Swvl’s compliance with certain guidelines, “the Authority has no objection to Swvl providing digital vehicle hailing services.”

The app-based services allow users to book trips using their mobile devices. The apps notify users of the nearest pick-up point, price and scheduled departure times.

The driver’s contact and registration number of the vehicle as well as live map update appear on the app interface for easy identification once the buses arrive.

Both services have been popular with Nairobi’s working class looking for comfort and who were keen to avoid the chaos associated with matatus.