Monday, January 24, 2022

SWVL introduces long distance Nairobi to Nakuru trips

SWVL is going the Little Shuttle Longhaul way with the newly introduced Nairobi to Nakuru and back route. The pickup will be at Afya Centre, going through Chiromo, Delta, and Kinoo, with drop off being Prestige Mall, Nakuru.

Unlike with Little Shuttle (which I am not sure if they ever resumed operations), there are no pickup/drop off points past Kinoo. Maybe you’ll need to tell your driver, but it doesn’t seem to be in the app.

There’s currently 5 shuttles in the trip: first one at 8.30am, with last one at 4.00pm.

What’s funny about this new route is that we’ve recently seen a couple of new PSV 14 Seater matatus become part of SWVL Shuttles. And most of them have been Prestige Branded.

Which means the new long distance trip is but the normal Prestige Shuttles you can always get at Afya Centre. The new thing is you can now book them on an app. (I wonder if they’ll stick to schedule)

SWVL has introduced a Promo Code to give customers up to 60% off, which sounds like an offer, till you check the price on the app, and discover that they’re charging KES. 1000 per trip. With the discounted offer it becomes KES. 400 – which happens to be the introductory price of Little Longhaul that if you remember offered free rides on weekends.

Anyway, coming during the Festive season, perhaps this is but a partnership to cash in on the holiday rush home. Only time will tell. Will SWVL try out more long distance routes? Will their prices be more competitive? And what will the value be compared to using normal transport options?

The new SWVL matatus look very different from the original promise of Premium Rides

The company is yet to introduce dynamic pricing they promised a while back. The app still claims to be charging KES. 200 per trip in their short distance Nairobi routes – though they send out promo codes making the rides either free or KES. 50 every week. Their promise of premium quality rides is sort of failing with the introduction of normal matatus, and clueless drivers. Will they survive this market? Will they ever make money?


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Dickson Otieno
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