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SWVL grounds buses as NTSA pressure mounts

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

Drivers attached to Egypt-based matatu-hailing app SWVL have caved to pressure from the transport regulator by halting services on most of its routes in Nairobi.

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

“We would like to inform our customers that we are experiencing disruptions on some of our routes. The affected areas are: Kasarani, Wangige, Jogoo Road, Westlands, Kiambu. We are working closely with regulators to ensure that our drivers are all compliant in the next few weeks. Until we achieve full compliance, some of our rides may be cancelled and we will have to closely monitor our routes,” said Shivachi Muleji General Manager, SWVL Kenya in a statement.

However, sources indicate that nearly all routes on the SWVL network are currently grounded.

NTSA last month asked the police to impound SWVL vehicles and charge its crew and owners, accusing the firm of using a tour service licence for public service operations which require a different permit.

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The NTSA order had also affected Little shuttles, one of SWVL’s competitors, which suspended operations after the order.

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

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