Madaraka Express rakes in Sh1 billion in first year of service

The Madaraka Express. []

Passenger sales for the Madaraka Express launched exactly one year ago have hit Sh1 billion, Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina said yesterday.

Maina said the in the first anniversary, the Madaraka Express has ferried a total of 1.3 million passengers.

The MD noted the train has an overall seat occupancy stands at 96.7 percent since the train started operations last year in May.

“We had challenges in ticketing, access roads, restaurants at the terminal where some people wanted the terminal to be near towns. We also had challenges to do with vandalism,” Maina said in an interview with the Star.

Since its launch, the train has cut travel time to and from Mombasa by over 10 hours. The SGR train takes four-and-a-half hours from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa.

If traveling by bus, the travel time could go up to 12 hours.

Maina said challenges bordering on ticketing have been addressed as 60 percent of this process has been automated.

“We have also ensured that the challenges to do with ticketing are resolved. We now have 60 percent of tickets being transacted online,” he said.

According to the Economic Survey 2018, it indicates that passenger journeys increased by 10.8 percent from 2,793,000 in 2016 to 3,096,000 in 2017

The earnings from passenger build-up rose five times more from Sh134 million in 2016 to Sh700 million in 2017, the economic survey further states.

Transport CS James Macharia said the inter-county train has spurred growth in various counties and eased transport as well.

“It has spurred developments in various counties, a move that has seen things change dramatically. We have seen a lot of development,” Macharia said.