Pakistan’s poor transport system causes many difficulties for students, workers and people who want a hassle-free way to travel. SWVL, a bus-hailing service, is planning to change the way we commute by offering affordable and air-conditioned rides.
The company announced that it has plans to invest $25 million in Pakistan. The announcement was made at 021Disrupt, a technology and entrepreneurship conference by The Nest I/O.
The bus company aims to launch an incubator to kickstart a healthy tech ecosystem in the country.
General manager Shahzeb Memon revealed that their aim is to create 10,000 jobs in a year through their venture. They also aspire to mobilise half a million Pakistanis by 2023.
The bus service launched in Lahore in August, and soon expanded to Islamabad and Karachi.
SWVL is similar to the coaches and buses which run in the city, but instead of a first-come-first-serve system, bookings have to be made online.
The company currently has a fleet of air-conditioned 13-seater Hiaces and 21-seater buses. It has hired both full-time and part-time drivers who are paid on a per-ride basis.
The rates are charged according to the distance, starting from Rs20 for a 25km ride. There’s no surge pricing, which means that the rates are fixed and don’t change in rush hours.
The payment option is cash, but an online payment option will be introduced soon too.
It was founded by three young Egyptian entrepreneurs: CEO Mostafa Kandil, COO Mahmoud Nouh, and CTO Ahmed Sabbah.
“Our target market consists of young individuals who value comfort and reliability while being financially prudent,” Memon told SAMAA Digital. “These boys and girls are always on the go and want a new-age, efficient mode of travel,” he said.
Memon explained that the service is not just targeting previous ride-hailing users but creating options for a large chunk of the Pakistani population who could previously not afford to use ride-hailing services.
When asked how Swvl aims to make its place in the market, Memon said, “We offer a transport service at a price cheaper than rickshaws, cars, taxis or other ride-hailing services”.
The company aims to offer quality customer service and maximum number of routes. As they have already made their mark in Kenya and Egypt, they believe their expansion to Pakistan would be a success.
“Our reputation across Egypt and Kenya speaks volumes about how we have become an integral part of the daily lives of people,” Memon remarked. He believes that Swvl’s strength lies in the technology platform and localized consumer service and experiences.