Egyptian bus share shuttle service SWVL has launched its promotional rides in Nairobi. The rides are going for KES 50 on all the routes where the service is available. The promotion goes on for one week. The company describes the service as an ‘on demand bus shuttle service where you can book and ride with fixed timings and rates’.
The Swvl service started with three routes as listed below:
- CBD to Ongata Rongai
- CBD to Kikuyu
- CBD to Ruiru
As at the time of writing of this article, the following routes had been added:
- CBD to Ndenderu via Ruaka
- CBD to Karen via Ngong Road
How to book Swvl
- Download the Swvl app from Google App Store just as you would any taxi hailing service.
- Choose your route from the menu in the top left.
- Select your preferred time of pick up and the stage where you will be picked up. You can book your ride for the next day today.
- Wait for the shuttle at your designated pick up point.
User experience so far
Some users have hailed the good experience offered by the shuttle service. There are some challenges though which may make someone question whether Swvl was all geared up for the launch. For instance, the company keeps on updating routes as per demand from consumers. The updating of the app and the routes is causing inconveniences as some users complained of not being able to secure a ride or even use the app:
Swvl response below.
Some users also complained of drivers stopping at various bus stops to see if they will get customers.
It seems like Svwl has not done a lot of publicity even with its piloting. Experience is all that matters for consumers and Swvl will have to up its efforts if it is to compete favourably with other shuttle hailing services like Little Shuttle which is offering free rides to commuters this February. By the time of writing this article, the Twitter handle for the shuttle service had only three followers.
While many commuters are happy that there is an alternative to the chaotic matatu industry, new entrants will have to be more innovative to deal with the traffic jams given that commuters specify the time they want to be picked in the apps. The piloting period for the current shuttle services will give a clear picture of how successful or not) the apps will help improve service in Nairobi, and if commuters are ready to pay higher fare rates just for convenience.
Read the latest about the Swvl app here, and how hey have increased their Nairobi fleet.
*Swvl is pronounced as ‘swivel’