If you are an active SWVL user, you probably received the following text message:
“We would like to notify our customers that we intend to be fully compliant with NTSA regulations by the end of this month. However, in the meantime, our routes have been affected and we apologize for the inconvenience caused. We are working around the clock with the NTSA to rectify.”
This comes right after Little Shuttle had temporarily suspended their services over what they termed as regulatory issues. Unlike Little, SWVL has not completely suspended its services, however, it has announced that a few routes have been cancelled awaiting full compliance.
The affected routes are:
Kasarani, Wangige, Jogoo Road, Westlands, Kiambu
Through a statement, the company says that they are working to ensure all their services are restored, “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.
No More Coaster Buses?
As Little operates on 8-seater shuttles to comply with NTSA orders, it seems that SWVL has gone in the direction of partnering with PSV compliant buses and vans which in turn has actually shielded the company from a full shutdown as Little experienced a while back.
“We have struck breakthrough partnerships with certain operators and these will be instrumental in helping us to achieve compliance,” added Mr Shivachi.
There’s no mention of who these partners are but anyone who uses SWVL can attest to the fact that there have been more “matatu-like” buses and vans compared to the luxury Coaster shuttles the company started with.
Whether NTSA’s compliance will mean an end to the luxurious side of SWVL or not, is something we have to wait to find out.