The Cairo-headquartered app-based bus hailing startup, Swvl has announced on its Facebook page that the company is expanding its operations in Pakistan and is launching its service in Lahore, as reported by MENAbytes. After Egypt and Kenya, Pakistan will be Swvl’s third market where they have initiated their services.
Swvl, founded in 2017 is a private premium transport service, an alternative to public transportation which also enables the riders to book seats through the mobile-based app. The startup operates bus lines on fixed routes and customers have to board the buses from specific pick-up spots to be dropped at their required stations.
Having supported by some of the major regional Venture Capitalists (VCs) including BECO Capital, Raed Ventures, Oman Technology Fund, and global names like Endeavor Catalyst, Swvl has managed to raise $80 million in VC money up til now. This makes this bus-hailing service one of the best-funded startups in MENA and in this business category.
Swvl is not the first company to have started its bus service in Pakistan. A company named Airlift, which is a local startup launched its bus service earlier this year in the country and is now in the process of closing their first investment round of over 2M dollars. Airlift has gained quite a traction in Lahore and is also available in Karachi.
The company as of yet has not shared any details regarding the routes or the number of buses which will be operating in Lahore. Lahore is the second-largest city of Pakistan and also home to over 10 million people, out of which around 70 to 80% of citizens use ride-hailing services. The ride-hailing services received much appreciation form public in the beginning but with the increased rates and continuously lowering standard people are looking for alternate options.
With all of these transport services coming to Pakistan, people of Lahore will surely have several options from which they can choose to travel within the city. But there is a question to be raised here which is that will this ride service and Airlift keep the standard and rates maintained or will they follow the footsteps of Careem and Uber.