For some reason, Kenya’s new Standard Guage Railway (SGR) train launched without an online platform to allow for bookings and payments.
Even worse, they did not accept M-Pesa or even card payments, just cash. Like seriously? Anyway, before this turns into a rant, the news is, Kenya Railways has announced that an online platform will be launched on 12 June, 2017.
According to Kenya Railways, over seven thousand passengers have used the Madaraka Express train for the one week that it has been operational. The organization notes that this is highest number ever recorded in rail travel in Kenya over a period of one week.
The announcement of the online payments and booking platform comes after passengers complained of the inconveniences brought about by the cash-only option. This meant that passenger could only buy tickets from the train stations which are located in the outskirts of both Nairobi and Mombasa CBD.
Kenya Railways, through twitter, also announced that they are finally accepting payments via M-Pesa. All one has to do is:
- Go to Lipa Na M-Pesa
- Select Pay Bill
- Enter pay bill number as 809888
- Enter account number as “Ticket” (without the quotes)
However, one still needs to be at the station to do this, for purpose of booking a seat, until the online playform is officially launched.
At the moment, the company only has one trip departing both Mombasa and Nairobi at 9am, daily. The company said that they are looking at adding more schedules to accommodate the growing number of passengers.