SGR fares to go up to Sh1200 for one-way ticket starting April

Passengers queue up for the Madaraka Express. []

Kenyans travelling from Nairobi to Mombasa through the Standard Gauge Railway passenger train, Madaraka Express, will have to pay more starting April.

Yesterday, Kenya Railways announced government’s intent to increase fares for the passengers in a new plan to make the service sustainable in the long term.

Currently, one-way ticket in the economy class costs Sh700 while in the business class, the same goes for Sh3, 000.

In new fare revisions, one-way ticket for passengers in the economy class will cost Sh1, 200 while in the business class, there will be no changes.

Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina said the revisions are geared towards enhancing sustainability in the government-run agency.

“The current fares especially the economy class fares were introductory or promotional as is conventional in any new business. Importantly, the Government made a deliberate decision to charge low fare to allow Kenyans from all walks of life to test the service at inception stage so they can judge for themselves the nature of the product we were introducing to the market,” said Maina as quoted by the Standard.

However, he said, the revisions are subject to approval by the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia.

Maina also said that though the fare is expected to go up, it will not exceed Sh1, 200.

“We shall be announcing the rates once approved but will not exceed Sh1,200. We are making many adjustments in our service offering and we believe that this adjustment will allow us to improve on customer experience in a sustainable manner,” he noted.

Since the launch of Madaraka Express in June last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta, over 800, 000 Kenyans have enjoyed breath taking rides on the SGR.

With the increased prices, the train service is likely to lose its lustre given that buses are offering much lower fares of Sh900.

In addition, the buses will drop passengers at respective CBD’s compared to the SGR where one is required to pick a cab or a matatu to the CBD.

In the case of Nairobi, one is required to board a matatu or pick a cab to Syokimau where the train station is located. This is a distance of 10 kilometres.

In Mombasa’s terminus, passengers alight at Port Reitz where again, it takes a journey of 10 kilometres to get to Mombasa town.