Confirmed: SGR passengers to pay Sh900 for economy class
Travellers intending to use the new railway will initially pay Sh900 for economy and Sh3,000 for business class, which will also be known as first class in Kenya Railways Corporation lingo.
“We looked at the market rates and the sustainability of it. We want it sustainable while making sure Kenyans enjoy the comfort at affordable rates,” said Transport Secretary James Macharia.
“The economy class is estimated at half the price of bus fare and the business class will be around Sh3,000,” he said.
The fares for these classes will be lower by December when the operators launch a second type of train service.
The fares, to be published this week, are a result of a study by Aarvee of India in collaboration with Wanjohi & Mutonyi Consulting Engineers (technical), Equity Investment Bank (financial) and Amolo & Gacoka Advocates (legal), groups that the government hired in March to help determine the fares for the new railway.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch the rail service on Wednesday in Mombasa, a project built by the Chinese to a tune of Sh327 billion, and thereafter embark on its maiden journey to Nairobi.
Chinese President Xi Jingping has sent his special envoy, State Councillor Wang Yong, to represent him during ceremony.
The train will initially offer two classes of passengers — economy and business class — but will launch its premier class by December this year.
Some 40 passenger coaches will initially be procured, with a capacity of 118 travellers for the economy class, 72 for business class, and 44 for first class.
At a maximum speed of 120km per hour, the train can take about four hours to complete the 472km journey. But Kenya Railways has put the travel time at five hours because of the stops it will have to make at the other stations.
“We know that buses take about nine to ten hours. Travellers will cover that in half the time, so this is going to be a real advantage,” Mr Macharia said.
He acknowledges that the train will neither take all passengers nor take buses off the road. But it means that train operators, airlines and bus companies will have to enhance their niche.
“This only means travellers will have a choice. Everyone will still operate, but Kenyans will know what to use. For SGR, the fares are mwananchi-friendly.”
The main bus companies plying this route — Mash and Modern Coast — charge Sh1,000 and Sh1,400, respectively. Others include Coast Bus (Sh1,200) and Dreamliner (Sh1,300).