Ride-hailing company SWVL has introduced long-distance travel as part of its diversification plan to boost revenues.
The service is to be rolled out as early as mid-November, and aims to bring the convenience of the app to long-distance travel in the country.
Notably, SWVL has introduced the service at a time when many Kenyans usually begin travelling upcountry for the festive season.
Much in the same way that SWVL users in Nairobi book rides with fixed timings and prices, they will be able to do so for long-distance trips.
Users will be able to set destinations including Naivasha, Nakuru, Molo, Eldoret, Narok, Kericho and Kisii.
The Egypt-based company has partnered with a number of matatu saccos as part of the plan.
SWVL Kenya General Manager Dip Patel disclosed that the service would be rolled out progressively in coming weeks.
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“Our aim is to help play a part in building a more efficient mass transit system. As part of that, we also need to expand the reach of our services to ensure that all commuters from all parts of the city have a service that suits their needs. This is the driving force behind our new offerings,” he stated.
SWVL currently has 11-seater, 14-seater and 22-seater vans and shuttles plying various routes around the capital.
It quickly gained popularity particularly among commuters as it addressed the hassle associated with Nairobi’s chaotic matatu industry.
Worries about missing a matatu or having to queue or fight at bus terminals were eliminated as the app allowed users to conveniently access rides on a daily basis.
The company, however, faced regulatory challenges particularly from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) which raised questions over vehicle models used by the service.