Technology

Swvl resumes mass transit routes in Nairobi

swvl

A Swvl minibus. The ride-hailing firm has resumed operations in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Egyptian ride-hailing firm Swvl has resumed commuter services in Nairobi which had been disrupted by stay-at-home orders to avoid the spread of Covid-19 last year.

The shutter services return along the Ruiru, Ongata Rongai and Kikuyu to and from city centre routes.

The tech firm scaled down operations at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya in March last year following a decrease in commuters.

The firm’s popular city routes included Ruiru to the CBD/Upper Hill, Karen to CBD/Westlands via Upper Hill, Ongata Rongai to Westlands/CBD via Upper Hill, Ruiru to Westlands, Ndenderu to CBD/ Upper Hill, and Kikuyu to CBD/ Upper Hill.

In November, the firm launched long-distance trips outside Nairobi in partnership with select matatu saccos to boost revenues. The new routes included Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kisii and Mombasa.

Swvl, which launched in Kenya in February 2019, said an uptick in demand for inter-city/town travel informed their decision to keep the long-distance services in the last three months.

“During the pandemic period, we took our time to analyse the patterns and needs of commuters. We identified the areas of change and have used the information to advise our new innovations and the decision to fully restart our regular rides service across the city. Our aim is to ensure that we provide a service for every kind of commuter in the country,” said Swvl Kenya General Manager Dip Patel.

The app-based service allows users to book trips using their mobile devices, which notifies them of the nearest pick-up point, price and time by the bus.

The tech company leases the vehicles that currently include 11-seater and 14-seater vans as well as 22-seater shuttles to ply the various routes.

Swvl also recently introduced carpooling services to enable commuters share rides and reduce individual fares.