Last year, the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), stepped up legal fights with the Egyptian shuttle-hailing company, SWVL. The regulator claimed the company operated illegally in the country due to lack of a relevant license.
The company together with its competitor, Little, was operating using a Tours Service License (TSL), instead of a PSV license, which every public transport vehicle needs to operate in the country.
According to the Daily Nation, the regulator now wants the prosecution of Swvl’s co-founder and CEO Mostafa Kandil.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions, NTSA seeks to ground the company’s operations in the city and impound its CEO and founder for illegal operations.
According to the transport watchdog, NTSA, SWVl has been operating on routes they haven’t been licensed to by them or City Hall.
“Traditionally an operator is licenced to operate at a particular route but Swvl wants to operate in a manner that they can go anywhere,” said NTSA’s licencing manager Jackson Mutua.
The company reportedly applied for a PSV license before but they were denied for refusing to ply on licensed routes only.
“The problem is that SWVL wants to operate everywhere ignoring that the PSVs in Nairobi operate along routes that have been licenced. Once they get licenced they will have to follow the existing routes,” said County Roads and Transport Chief Officer Engineer Fredrick Karanja.
Apparently, the NTSA ordered the police to seize several vehicles from the company on Friday for operating without a PSV license. The regulator ordered the crew alongside the owners charged for the same. Swvl’s boss has a different view on the matter.
Mostafa says the arrests were based on the compliance of its partners and not the company itself.
As the legal fights escalate, it is unlikely that SWVL will exit the market after all they have invested locally – Ksh 1.5 Billion. Even with the tough ride, the company has experienced since November, it has remained vocal that it is going nowhere.