Islamabad: Egyptian bus transportation network company Swvl plans to invest $25 million in Pakistan in the next 18 months and create more than 10,000 jobs, the Pakistan general manager of the ride-hailing app told Arab News on Tuesday.
Swvl, founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, operates in more than five countries, running buses along fixed routes and allowing customers to reserve and pay for rides using an app. Rates are charged according to the distance traveled, starting from Rs20 for a 25km ride.
“The major portion of the $25 million would be invested in building a mass transit system like putting in buses and scaling up the demand,” Shahzeb Memon told Arab News via phone from Karachi. “We have plans of mobilizing half a million annual consumers by 2023 and creating 10,000 jobs a year.”
Memon explained that Swvl’s service did not only target existing ride-hailing users but aimed to create transportation options for a large and growing middle class that could not previously afford such services. He said Swvl was targeting both commuters as well as underutilized vehicles in the market.
“In Pakistani emerging markets like Karachi, there is no proper public transport system available. So, we come in and take the burden off the government,” Memon said. “We are here to put in the mass transit system for the big middle class, where we utilize buses to generate enough demand for them.”
“The company is operating on more than 150 routes in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad,” Memon said. “Our main focus is to build our customer base in these densely populated cities; then we will go to tier two cities.”
Currently, with operations in four cities, Pakistan is Swvl’s biggest market. Even in Egypt, the service is available only in two cities, Cairo and Alexandria.
Memon said the company also wanted to use Pakistan as the main support office to help resolve queries coming from other markets.
“We are planning to open an offshore support office in Pakistan as labor here is cheaper,” the GM said. “We are also looking into the possibility of opening an engineering office in Pakistan to build the technology as Pakistan has some of the best talents in the world and we would like to utilize it.”