The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has said that the operator of Kenya’s SGR-China Communications Construction Company, will not be allowed to deviate significantly from current train charges which are presently $42.7 for a one-way first class ride between the two cities, then $22.6 and $6.6 for a ride in the second and economy classes costs respectively.
Managing director, Atanas Maina, said the passenger fares will almost be equal to what the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is currently charging once the standard gauge railway (SGR) is put to use in the next two months, in spite of fuel being a major cost factor.
He assured Kenyans that the charges they will set will not be that big a deviation from the standing ones.
However, unlike the RVR, the SGR currently lacks a daily schedule. The passenger train makes trips to Mombasa every Monday and Friday and to Nairobi on Sundays and Wednesdays.
Furthermore, these trains are known for delays and trips that take longer than the 12 hour schedule, due to the old and unreliable wagons. It was therefore no surprise when people’s interest was picked by the SGR’s announcement to shorten the 12hour journey between the two cities down to a mere four hours.
The journey experience between Nairobi and Mombasa is set to change drastically as travelers get spoilt for choice. Cost, convenience and safety will, however, continue to determine how travelers choose the mode of transport. This will come in handy to those who may not be able to afford air transport.
The realization of SGR is set to put Kenya in the same league with countries that have developed railway network to improve transport. The railway is set to give more travel options to locals looking forward to navigating the two cities.
The new line has seen 33 new sub-stations and nine stations built along the line in eight counties to support a flawless traffic flow. It is projected to increase cargo haulage from the current 1.5 million tonnes to 22 million tonnes annually.
The SGR is hailed as the main driver for economic growth across East Africa helping reduce manufacturing costs by 50 per cent with the benefits passed over to consumers thereby making Kenyan goods competitive on a global scale.
The onset of the SGR will most probably force bus drivers to rethink operations in that route. This is because while a second-class buss ticket from Nairobi to Mombasa goes for $14.55 during peak hours, the duration is still eight hours.
The time alone can be reason enough for people to opt for the train as an alternative.
Source: Businesss Daily