Kenyans can’t understand why Little Shuttle and SWVL have been suspended

Kenyans have called out the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) for suspending Little Shuttle and SWVL vehicles following a licensing row.

The digital public transporters were on Monday asked to cease operations or face arrests for operating under Tour Service License but engaging in commuter services.

SWVL and Little Shuttle were poised to disrupt the public service sector by providing booking options, extra comfort and scheduled departure times in the chaotic segment.

In a notice from the NTSA Deputy Director Communications Dido Guyatu, the authority said it has blacklisted specific vehicles operating under the two companies and their TSL invalidated.

“We have shut down their (Little and SWVL) licenses because there are comprehensive regulations on how to operate a PSV,” NTSA director general Francis Meja said.

NTSA indicated that both firms had been notified of the suspension of operations until the necessary licenses for operating PSV’s were obtained or an exemption from the authority.

“Let them just follow the law so that we can facilitate them to do business in Kenya. Let them come to us… we are open for discussion to allow them do business in Kenya. It’s a fact that you cannot do business in Kenya without a proper license,” said Mr Meja.

But in his response, Little Shuttle CEO Kamal Budhabhatti said the company is seeking audience with NTSA on a way forward.

“The buses we operate have countrywide TLB license, which allows us to move on any route. We do not operate as a matatu on fixed route. Our route is based on supply and demand software technology,” he said.

IN OPERATION

A spot check by Nairobi News on Tuesday morning in Nairobi established that SWVL was still ferrying passengers despite the suspension.

The company’s General Manager in Kenya, Shivachi Muleji, said they are in talks with the government to ensure that they are fully compliant.

Egyptian start-up app SWVL currently has 150 buses on 100 city routes and last month indicated that it would inject Sh1.5 billion into the Kenyan market.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear when Little Shuttle will return to the road.

The app-based service allows users to book trips using their mobile devices, which notifies them of the nearest pick-up point, price and time by the bus.

The driver’s contact and registration number of the vehicle as well as live map update appear on the app interface for easy identification once the buses arrive.

Here is what Kenyans thought of the suspension:

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