SWVL gets green light from NTSA to resume operations

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SWVL gets green light from NTSA to resume operations

Passengers board a SWVL shuttle in Nairobi on August 30, 2019. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG  

Egypt-based ride-hailing app SWVL has received the green light to resume full operations after meeting all demands laid out by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).

The mass transport app said yesterday that the firm will going forward require partner drivers to join existing saccos before being signed up on the app.

Swvl, which has temporarily reduced its operations owing to the Covid-19 measures laid out by the government, said it will go back to full operations once the restrictions are lifted.

The tech firm has suffered setbacks since last year when the NTSA ordered it to cease operations for failing to adhere to Public Service Vehicle (PSV) regulations including operating without a licence on multiple routes across the city.

The firm caved into pressure and suspended or reduced operations on most routes in Nairobi.

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“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 Dip Patel , SWVL Kenya General Manager.

A lack of clear guidelines in the e-hailing industry was blamed for the Swvl debacle. Swvl said the NTSA said it will look into developing a regulatory framework that will take into account industry driven technological advancements.

“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,” said Patel.

SWVL was operating on about 100 city routes last year before running into trouble with the NTSA. Westlands, Thika Road, Eastern Bypass, Rongai, Ngong, Karen, Tatu City and Embakasi are among the routes where over 150 buses were plying.

The Egyptian start-up in August last year said it had secured Sh1.5 billion funding to finance an aggressive route expansion plan in Nairobi. It had set a target to grow its network to 500 routes served by 1,000 buses.

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