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SWVL general manager Dip Patel says it will announce the routes with the high demands but urged users to stay home and avoid non-essential traveling/FILE

Kenya

SWVL offers free rides to shoppers and those in essential and critical services

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 26 – Online passenger vehicle firm SWVL is set to offer free rides for commuters on certain routes who must travel for work following the crisis caused by the outbreak of coronavirus in Kenya.

SWVL general manager Dip Patel says it will announce the routes with the high demands but urged users to stay home and avoid non-essential traveling.

“Users will receive a notification of these routes via our app. We support the measures being put in place by the government and encourage our users to stay home and avoid non-essential commuting when they can,” said Patel.

Commuters that must travel for essential work can use the free ride service by using the HERE4YOU promotional code and free rides will also be reflected in the SWVL app.

SWVL has also said the free services will further allow customers to shop for food supplies and continue other essential travels.

It will further cap each bus booking capacity to 60percent which will limit the number of passengers per vehicle giving room for social distancing and prevent overcrowding.

Additionally, all vehicles are encouraged to maintain an open window policy to aid in decreasing the risk of contracting the virus on the commute and hand sanitizers will also be made available to bus operators for their passengers.

The announcement comes at a time when matatu operators across the country have hiked fares after the government directed the industry to carry a limited number of passengers per vehicle in a bid to combat the spreading of the virus.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe last week directed 14-seater matatus to carry a maximum of eight passengers, 25-seaters to carry 15, buses whose sitting capacity is 30 and above to have 60 percent sitting capacity.

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