The National Transport and Safety Authority in Kenya has forthwith suspended SWVL and Little Shuttle Bus Hailing Services in Nairobi. They authority claims the two services were illegally operating shuttle services without the required PSV licenses.

NTSA in a statement says, “The vehicles under these hailing app companies have acquired Tours Service License (TSL) but are engaging in commuter service within Nairobi therefore contravening the terms of the Tour Service License (TSL).”

The statement also says that the two companies have never contacted the Authority to show any intention to operate as commuter service providers. And haven’t registered their vehicles with the authority as required by Section 26 of the Transport and Safety Act No. 33 of 2012.

NTSA has said the services will only continue operation should they comply with PSV regulations.

It is unclear what’s going to happen with SWVL. Little have already issued out a statement in an email which you can read here. Basically, they’re shutting down their service.

Here are some questions that will need to be answered in the coming days as Nairobians who rely on SWVL and LITTLE SHUTTLE find other means of transport:

  • Are SWVL and LITTLE considered Matatus? Should they be?
  • If so, should they follow matatu laws? Will that include the yellow line on 14 Seater SWVLs?
  • If so, should they use matatu routes?
  • And if so, is there really opportunity in Kenya for something different in the transport industry?
  • How do you modernise a sector like the matatu sector if you’re not allowed to operate differently?
  • Is Kenya really opening up to new ideas that will help it grow, or are we backward and not ready for new ways of making things work?


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