SWVL launches long-distance trips

Egypt-based ride-hailing app SWVL has launched long-distance trips, marking its venture outside Nairobi.

The platform has added Eldoret town after quietly launching its commuter services to Naivasha, Meru and Nakuru routes days to the Christmas holidays.

The fare from Nairobi to Eldoret is Sh1,200 while travelling to Nakuru or Naivasha from the capital city costs Sh1,000 on each of the routes.

SWVL has also added multiple routes from Nairobi’s central business district, including Ruai, Kiserian and Ngong. The new routes add to its previous 55 connections. The app, which had downsized its operations over the Christmas holidays citing low demand, resumed full operations on Monday. “Long distance travel is a viable business segment for us and you will see a lot more investment into it as we get into this year,” SWVL general manager Shivachi Muleji said.

“When you think about the level of travel between Nairobi and Nakuru, for example, on a daily basis, you start to see why we would invest in it. Our core market will always remain the Nairobi commuter, but we will seek growth in new business areas.” SWVL also resumed service after a period of disruption that followed the firm’s move to have the buses comply with the National Transport and Safety Authority rules.

The company was required to have the buses using its platform registered and adhere to matatu regulations.

These include having a public service vehicle licence, a yellow line on the buses and displaying route name and number. Its users book trips on phone and are notified of the nearest pick-up point, price and timing.