Little Shuttle, ride hailing app has announced the suspension of its shuttle services indefinitely. This follows a protracted fight with the industry regulator, the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA). The authority had suspended Little Shuttle and its competitor SWVL stating the two firms were operating on wrong licenses from that which governs public transport services. It had said the two were operating on Tourist Service Vehicle (TSV), whose rules are different from those of Public Service Vehicles (PSV).
In a short notice posted on its social media platforms, Little Shuttle said, “We regret to announce the temporary suspension of the Little Shuttle service, until further notice.”
SWVL suspended its services on November 14, 2019 with its General Manager, Shivachi Muleji, saying, “We would like to inform our customers that we are experiencing disruptions on some of our routes.” “We are working closely with regulators to ensure that our drivers are all compliant in the next few weeks. Until we achieve full compliance, some of our rides may be cancelled and we will have to closely monitor our routes.”
The service had become very popular with some of Nairobi’s commuters as it provided organisation, safety, predictability and stability in terms of fare chargeable irrespective of weather or traffic conditions. The matatu industry in Kenya has been characterized by rowdiness, lack of discipline, recklessness and unpredictability especially during rush hour and rainy weather.
The two firms had brought disruptions to the sector and it remains to be seen whether the regulator will have policies in place to embrace this new phenomenon in the industry.