RECORD PASSENGER NUMBERS REPORTED BY KENYA RAILWAYS ON SGR PASSENGER TRAINS
(Posted 07th June 2017)
The first phase of the Standard Gauge Rail service, which was launched by President Kenyatta last Wednesday, is currently operating with scheduled passenger trains from Nairobi and Mombasa running on a daily basis.
Kenya Railways Managing Director, Mr. Atanas Maina said: ‘Over the last week we have experienced a daily surge in passenger numbers. The growing numbers demonstrate the vital role Kenya Railways plays in our nation’s transportation system; we are definitely off to a strong start. With demand for our services at an all-time high we are looking forward to scheduling additional trains. The combination of state-of-the-art design, unrivalled comfort and convenience means that we are well placed to meet the growing demand as passengers increasingly opt for our services over other existing means‘.
In addition to growing passenger numbers, over 7.000 passengers are said to have used the SGR trains in both directions so far, Kenya Railways also announced that plans are underway to introduce the intercounty trains that will make stops Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito, Voi and Mariakani before the final stop at Miritini. These trains are scheduled to start operations by July. Kenya Railways and the operator CRBC have put together a joint team to address the customer service issues in order to ensure that the service remains efficient and convenient to the customers.
‘Without a doubt we have many passengers who intend to ply their businesses across the five counties that the line traverses and this new train will ensure that we play our role in devolution by connecting businesses across the counties‘ Maina further explained.
The company has also announced a partnership with National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to enable private bus operators provide last mile services to and from the various destinations along the route. For passengers in Nairobi, the company has scheduled a daily train to the Nairobi Terminus that will be dropping off travellers in the morning from the City Centre and transporting them back to the city from 1 PM when they arrive from Mombasa. In Mombasa, the access road is in its completion phase and thus is expected to provide a fluid road connection to the Miritini Station from Mombasa City.
On the Nairobi side, the Nairobi Commuter Rail service to Syokimau Station is available in the mornings to take the passengers to the Nairobi Terminus before the 9am train departs. The service is also available in the afternoons to pick passengers arriving from Mombasa and drop them to the city center.
‘We will continue to enhance the customer experience and optimize our services through continuous improvement of our internal systems such as retraining staff on service delivery‘ concluded Maina.
This, in addition to the new online ticket payment platform to be unveiled on Monday, will ensure convenience in travel for all customers.
The reaction of Kenya Railways will be welcomed by hundreds of individuals who posted negative comments on their social media platforms, about chaos when purchasing tickets, difficulties to access the stations in the absence of road signage, lack of restaurant facilities at the stations and on the train though it does not absolve the company of course for their failure to have such logistical issues in place at the start of commercial operations.