App Based Mass Transit Solutions coming up in 2019,Your thoughts?

So i have heard rumours that Little Cab and Swvl (Egyptian Startup) have started doing local small pilots of their bus shuttle services in Nairobi as they seek approvals from the relevant authorities.Both Little Cab and Swvl have raised millions of dollars for purposes of expansion and this might be one of the initiatives. Remember Uber and Swvl already have app based bus shuttles running in Cairo,Egypt.Little have said they plan to rollout starting february 2019 at the earliest with free rides,I know the techweez team have been following all these developments and keep updating us but i wish to engage the community here and ask if they are open and willing to try out these app based bus shuttles that seek to replace matatus and change how we commute around the city.Your Thoughts?

On their website Swvl say they are a scheduled bus service with fixed prices. Kenya Bus used to do that in the 90’s so it is a viable concept.

Taming the madness that is the matatu industry remains a massive task.

It is a viable concept because,it means infusing technology with public transport.It is a task,the advantage these app based mass transit solutions have is they have the capital,they can easily control fleet related issues,provide better customer service and its all in the apps(android or iOS)…Swvl have already been on massive ad campaigns in Cairo and they are gaining ridership,think of how Uber has been advertising uberchapchap on bus stops and billboards,with such a campaign plus word of mouth and great customer reviews the tide starts turning…plus the revenues start coming in…

The Kenya Bus model worked quite well. You always knew when to expect a bus, and the buses didn’t stop to wait for passengers, but they also didn’t make losses. This was stopped due to the usual privatization that happens in Kenya, and now buses wait for passengers at bus stops.

This revival of endless routes doesn’t even need technology to work, as we have seen in other cities. It just needs goodwill.

Now for private companies, they definitely need an app for better organization and ability to use data for better revenue optimization, and yes I would use this, especially if it meant being able to use one bus from home to office without stopping to move from one bus stop to the other.

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Guys,Actually the pilot for Swvl is already live on one route,its labelled CBD to Kiambu County,the stop routes are all along thika road so its safe to say the pilot so far is along thika road…will be sending screenshots shortly.I intend to try out the service on friday as i will be heading that way,then i will share my experience…so far i have seen they have a Toyota Coaster in the city so i cant wait to see if its the one…

Definitely excited for this new phase in public transport. I have the app and although I have not used it to commute, I played around with it enough and noticed the pricing and features may be actually what we need. The price of course is not similar to regular matatus but close enough for a pilot project. From KU CBD to Ruiru Bypass is KES 150. Tried selecting pickup from KCA and drop off at Roysambu and still the charge remained KES 150. I think they are discouraging short distance rides.

I think time is the best aspect. That is in addition to the fact that you can leave the house or office knowing that you will find a seat on the bus as soon as you get to the bus stop.

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Man,me 2 bana…I havent used it yet but i intend to,just to try it out…Well,Yeah the pricing is a bit off but its a pilot plus if we can encourage and give feedback plus increase our numbers and engagement i am sure the prices will get friendlier over time,normally the same route costs Ksh 50 to Ksh 100 bob depending on time of day or stop…I also like that one can pay through cash or debit/credit card which means payments options are a bit flexible…Yes i also agree that one can take comfort in knowing they have booked a seat and its available once at the pickup point…This thing has made my day bana,i m just excited…its like we are witnessing the beginning of what future transit in this city can look like…

could be the best thing to shuffle the competitors

Traffic and other unpredictable factors will affect pickup and dropoff time but we can take solace in the fact that fares will be a bit transparent and consistent maybe going forward…As you can see from the screenshots i just uploaded from the app,the UI is very friendly and easy to use…in future we could see more routes like CBD- Ngong Road,CBD-Mombasa Road,CBD-Waiyaki Way,CBD-Jogoo Road and CBD-Langata road,depending on user adoption and engagement plus the fleet can increase depending on demand…Personally,i dont even care about BRT anymore,with this kind of service and comfortable nice vehicles with extras like wifi…it can be enough to move car users to use public transport owned by private companies like Swvl

The beauty of a scheduled service is that you don’t have to wait for the bus to fill up. That wastes a lot of time especially outside rush hour.

By using an app, the technology can more accurately estimate traffic delays and delays between stops.


thats the beauty of it,no waiting for buses to fill up,comfort and space in buses,easy payments and trip tracking esp for transport expenses,ability to adequately accurately budget for transport,guaranteed improved passenger safety…the mixed bag bit is apps like swvl will have a lot of data about travel patterns,habits,spending e.t.c that they may use to improve services or sell to advertisers…

Check their T&Cs seeing as you are already beta testing for us :grin:

i have resigned myself to accept their T&C as it is…will provide more feedback as i beta test the app.

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Speaking of mass transit solutions, Dar is edging ahead of Nairobi.

True,Dar’s BRT is progressing quite well,they actually have multiple phases of implementing it.Their advantage is they have political will and a good team behind its implementation so they are facing very few roadblocks in implementing it.The ticketing and digitizing of payments is proving to be a challenge for them but i believe they will work through these issues.Then Dar seems to have some urgency in implementing it considering how fast the city is growing.

Years ago public transport in Dar was worse than old town Mombasa. Slow, congested and painfully overwhelmed.

I hear JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) came up with the master plan, which shows in the implementation and the efficiency of the entire project.

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Wouldnt this work better for long distance bookings say Nairobi-Nyeri or Naivasha, Nakuru etc

Its even better with town commuting.

20 years ago I could take a scheduled number 33 from Embakasi to Langata through Kenyatta Hospital. A single ticket and fixed times. Kungojea gari ijae was a foreign concept.

This thing can work!

It can work both well for in city/town commute and long distance commute,the concept is still workable.I have managed to book my ride with swvl for tomorrow 4pm going to Safari Park from the CBD,will share my experience in details here later…