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Tech firm Little cry foul following suspension of its shuttle services

By Mireri Junior | September 30th 2019
Little Shuttle boss chief executive Kamal Budhabhatti. [Courtesy]

Local Shuttle-hailing tech firm Little will not operating its shuttle products beginning October 1 following a directive by the authorities.

The firm’s chief executive Kamal Budhabhatti through a long social media post said they received communication from the authorities halting their operations.

According to Budhabhatti, despite hailing from their partners that are properly registered, the directive indicated that they were operating on a wrong licences.

“We have been informed that the licence our partners use are not the right ones despite being properly registered,” he said.

The CEO has warned that the move to halt their operations will lead to mass loss of jobs by riders who eke a living from their services.

He wondered what led to the move, saying Little is a departure from the madness witnessed on Kenyan roads. He has appealed to the government to invite them for dialogue with technology firms out to change the face of the country’s transport sector.

“It is high time the government held dialogue with tech firms like Little to bring sanity in the sector,” he said.

Little’s latest investment adds to Sh1 billion capital injection it has so far received since inception from its parent tech firm Craft Silicon and other un-named shareholders. Kenya’s biggest telco Safaricom has no stake in Little but it is the firm’s technology and marketing partner.

Budhabatti also claimed their woes could be as a result of pressure from cartels in the transport sector who could be out to frustrate and drive them out of business.

How it works

The little shuttle is an e-shuttle system that allows riders to book a seat and board at specific times starting 6:45am on week days, with a frequency of every two hours.

The service is targeted at riders who would otherwise use their personal cars to move around the city.

Little has partnered with some matatu saccos to onboard there buses to the application.

“At the press of a button, you can book a shuttle that is clean and safe, a shuttle without hassle, exactly how an ideal mass transport should be,” said Budhabhatti.

Users can book the shuttle through the normal little taxi-hailing app.

Riders are booking the rides at rates about 10 to 15 per cent higher than the normal commuter fare depending on the route.

“This is not like the normal matatu, the amenities are different, safer and better,” he said during the launch early this year.

The shuttle service is modelled along the Bus Rapid Transport System with hopes that it will when fully implemented give commuters more choice.


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