ISLAMABAD: Swvl, an Egyptian startup with an app to book bus tickets, plans to launch operations in the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh by the end of next year, a senior official said.
The startup, which operates buses along fixed routes and allows customers to reserve and pay for them using its app, began operations in Egypt in 2017. It has since launched in Pakistan and recently moved its headquarters to Dubai.
“By the end of next year, we want to be in more cities, a city is a market for us. We are planning to open in Manila, Jakarta and Dhaka,” Swvl Pakistan’s General Manager Shahzeb Memon told Reuters on Monday in a phone interview from Karachi.
The company, which has raised $80 million in funding so far, launched its services in August in Karachi, Lahore and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
It plans to invest $25 million in the country to create 10,000 jobs and hopes to attract half a million customers by 2021, Memon said. The company, however, has already run into regulatory hurdles. Last week, a provincial government in Pakistan issued notices to Swvl and another similar service, saying they were operating without route permits and no-objection certificates.
Swvl Pakistan responded with a statement saying the company always carried out its business in a lawful manner and was committed to complying with the region’s regulations.
The company says its service targets existing ride-hailing users and aims to create transportation options for a large and growing middle class in Asian cities.
Swvl’s services are 30-40 per cent cheaper than using a car, Memon said.
Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019