In an effort to tame the rogue matatu industry in Kenya, a number of players have expressed interest in launching app-based mass transit solutions in the country this year. So far, four companies have expressed interest, Uber, Swvl, Little and Safiri Express. First on the pilot list was Mbugu Njihia’s Safiri Express which did its first pilot January last year with the second pilot set to begin sometime in March this year.
The second company to launch its pilot program was Egypt-based Swvl. The service which has been available since early January so far has routes serving CBD – Thika Road (up to Clay works) and CBD – Langata Road (up to Ongata Rongai) in their public pilot. Swvl is the only service that has involved the public in their pilot. Those who have tested out the service attest that the bus does keep its time and in case it runs late, a refund of Kes.20 is issued within the app’s wallet.
Now, Craft Silicon’s Little has teased that their app-based mass transit solution has entered the pilot phase, albeit with a closed group of people.
Have you spotted the Little shuttle? pic.twitter.com/5F9xXzPczM
— Little (@LittleRideKE) January 28, 2019
The tweet seen above was sent out last night with a number of tweeps confirming that they had indeed seen the “Little Shuttle” albeit a few commented that the bus seemed empty.
on waiyaki way but seemed empty. Whats the plan with the bus?
— Torooti (@Torooti) January 29, 2019
Little did confirm through their social media accounts that indeed they had started closed beta and would soon open it up to the public. Currently, the Little Shuttle serves one route, from NextGen Mall on Mombasa Road to Kinoo-Regen on Waiyaki Way. As an incentive, Little Shuttle does feature free wifi on board.
As with all the other services, Uber is yet to launch their pilot, the mass-transit bus will be picking up passengers at designated bus stops at specific times. To board the bus, passengers will be required to book for a seat through the respective service’s app, select their nearest pick-up location, the time slot and wait for the bus to come.
With the government working to resolve the public transport madness in the city of Nairobi, such services could help the Vitz-driving middle-class citizens be at ease while using public transport. If successful, these app-based mass transit solutions will disrupt the matatu industry in the capital city.