Sh700 SGR fare not a threat to bus owners – Uhuru
The Madaraka Express train will not deny public transport operators in the country business, President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
The President said the SGR will instead create more opportunities for matatu and boda boda operators as he directed the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to put up a matatu terminus at every railway station to ease transportation of train passengers.
“The public transport sector plays a key role in our economy and we will always work to facilitate its operations,” President Kenyatta said Sunday.
The Head of State spoke at State House, Nakuru, where he met more than 1,000 representatives of matatu and boda boda operators drawn from all corners of the country.
Matatu Owners Association (MOA) chairman Simon Kimutai had lamented that bus operators on the Mombasa-Nairobi route might lose up to 70 per cent of revenue in the next year if introductory fares for the train are maintained.
On Wednesday, the President delivered the Madaraka Express train to Nairobi, fulfilling one of his key election pledges. He said the new train will charge a promotional Sh700 for Economy Class.
The class has 13 coaches, each hosting 118 passengers. First Class has three coaches, each carrying 72 passengers. A ticket goes for Sh3,000.
On Sunday, President Kenyatta said his administration was constructing roads across the country and opening up areas where buses can operate.
“For example, there were only three buses plying the North-Eastern route but today we have over 30 because we have improved the road,” the President said. “It also used to take up to three days to travel to the region but now it only takes hours.”
He asked the public transport operators to take advantage of the opportunities being created in the sector, citing the example of the government’s Build Operate Transfer initiative as one area where they could invest in.
Mr Kimutai said the train service — whose key pillars are speed, reliability and competitive pricing — will eventually drive buses out of business.