SWVL – A cool new way to ride
SWVL, comfort and convenience transforming public transport in Nairobi
SWVL is a recent entrant into the rapidly growing ridesharing and cab-hailing market. It is unique though, unlike most ride-sharing apps that offer cab services, SWVL offers bus rides instead.
SWVL buses have a fixed route with fixed bus stops and charge a fixed fare. They also work on a timed schedule, meaning you don’t have to wait until a bus fills up. The buses arrive mostly on time as advertised, which is impressive for the Nairobi traffic and which means you don’t have to worry about running late.
To use the service, one only has to download the app from the Appstore or the play store and register like you would any other ridesharing app. In the app, you then choose your preferred pickup bus stop and destination and your preferred time. The app shows you the details of your ride, including the driver’s name and phone number as well as the bus registration number.
The buses themselves are spacious, clean and well maintained. Additionally, because it is still a fairly new service, it occasionally offers promotional codes that you can take advantage of and ride at a subsidized fare, or even for free. Even then, the fixed fare charged is only Ksh 200 per person, which is fair considering the convenience offered by the service.
SWVL does still have some way to go. The routes offered are still rather few and mostly restricted to major routes. During off-peak hours, there are also fewer buses and, while this is understandable, it does mean you may have to wait longer for the next bus. The uptake on the service also seems to be slow and you may find yourself in a largely empty bus.
That said, SWVL is still a service you should consider for the convenience it offers.