We’re not exiting the Kenyan market, SWVL says

Ride-hailing company, SWVL has denied claims that it plans to exit the Kenyan market. The company has also refuted allegations that it has not paid it’s bus drivers for more than a month now. 

The Cairo-based shuttle-hailing firm officially launched in Kenya in August 2019 and has over the last few months faced a number of ‘’legal’ problems regarding their operations. 

In September 2019, the National Transport and Safety Authority suspended all vehicles operating under SWVL for illegally operating shuttle services without the required PSV licenses. SWVL together with Safaricom owned Little Shuttle were said to be operating using Tours Service License (TSL), which according to NTSA, violated the provisions of the PSV Regulations. This suspension forced SWVL to ground its buses until they became full compliance.  NTSA wanted SWVL and even its competitor Little to register as Matatu Saccos. 

“We have always highlighted our commitment to observing the law and building a compliant service that will offer commuters a safe, convenient and comfortable transport service. We will continue this drive and do everything required of the business to achieve our goal”, said Mostafa Kandil, SWVL Co-founder and CEO during the suspension period. 

SWVL insists that it is committed to this market and are not considering leaving. 

‘’Kenya is a market with great potential and room for us to create a solution that benefits the everyday commuter. We are therefore not leaving and will continue to innovate to provide our Kenyan users with an efficient, comfortable and reliable solution to their transportation needs.’’ the company said in a statement sent to us. 

‘’We consider Kenya as favorable market for carrying out our business and we remain committed to partnering with bus owners and Captains to help realise the industry’s full potential.’’ the statement ads.

About claims that it has not paid its drivers for over a month now, SWVL does not really give a clear answer but says in the statement that it working closely with them to ensure their needs are met. (We have tried reaching out to a number of the drivers attached to SWVL to get their side of the story, we will update this article once any of them responds). The statement sent to us is vague and does not really go into details regarding these claims.

‘’Our Captains and bus owners are the focal points of our business. We, therefore, maintain a cordial and healthy relationship with them and are committed to their general welfare and continuity of services offered to members of the public.’’ it says. 

In December 2019, SWVL launched a new service called SWVL Travel for long-distance travellers. This new service competes directly with traditional matatu operators.

You will agree with me  SWVL is having a tough ride trying to set its foot in the matatu business in Kenya. The company, however, says it continues to provide commuters with a safe, convenient and efficient mass transport option. .. ‘’and desires to advise our esteemed customers to remain calm and expect even better services as we roll into 2020.‘’ 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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