SWVL the matatu hailing app which is based in Egypt has appointed Dip Patel who is the former Uber Kenya boss to head its Kenyan operation.

Dip Patel holds a Master of Science degree in Accounting, Organisations and Institutions from London School of Economics. He became the Uber Country Manager at the age of 26 years. He started off as the Marketing Manager for East Africa, he then became the Operations and Logistics Manager after which he was promoted to be the Country Manager.

The move to hire Dip appears to have been influenced by the licensing row that SWVL is currently facing with NTSA. According to the firm, it intends to tap into Mr Patel’s experience gained at Uber to replicate the taxi hailing model in the matatu sector.

SWVL offers point-to-point shuttle services with users booking trips through mobile phones. They are then notified of the nearest pick-up point, price and time to board. It is popular with the Nairobi’s working class keen to avoid the matatu chaos. Last month, the firm added long-distance trips to Naivasha, Kisumu, Nakuru, Meru and Embu as well as multiple routes in Nairobi and outskirts. At the moment, it has 55 connections.