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Longer coaches to end commuter woes in rush hour

No one will need to sit atop a train or hang onto one as plans to increase coaches are underway.

Kenya Railways will add more coaches on trains plying the Makadara and Imara Daima routes to accommodate the growing commuter numbers in the next two months.

The move is hoped to encourage more residents take the train into and out of the city centre, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

The number of commuters needing train transport has been on the rise, but limited space in the trains has been forcing them to squeeze into or hang onto overloaded coaches, risking life and limb.

Kenya Railways spokesperson Margaret Kawira said they were aware of the acute need for more space and improved service as Nairobi residents realise the advantages of using trains over matatus.

“Currently our trains are full to capacity, we are therefore in the process of increasing the number of coaches to meet the growing demand,” she said.

Trains plying the Makadara-Imara Daima route have being photographed many times in the media, with passengers hanging onto and sitting atop the coaches.

To this, Ms Kawira said: “We have noted that this has been risking the lives of the passengers and that is why we are treating the matter as an emergency,” she said.

Increasing the number of trains will also contribute in easing traffic jams.

“Our plan is to encourage train transport as it is the cheapest and also fastest,” Ms Kawira said.

The company is working with World Bank to construct all bad roads leading to the railway stations.

Residents have been complaining about a road to Imara Daima station, terming it as impassable and insecure because it lacks street lights.

Mr James Ndung’u, said hundreds of commuters from his estate, Imara Daima, and others living in Industrial area had opted to use matatus to avoid the bad road.

“Most of us find it very hard to walk on a such a muddy and dark stretch early in the morning, much as train fares are low,” he said.

Most of those who used the train when the station was opened last year have since shifted back to their old means of transport, the matatus.

“I prefer using the matatu because the road that leads us to the station is in a bad condition” said Ms Jane Mwende also a resident of Imara Daima.

The residents also said the trains would always arrive at the station full.