Commuters in Nairobi Set for Modern Train Service


Commuters in Nairobi Set for Modern Train Service

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Chances that commuters in Nairobi will get a modern train service before the end of the year look increasingly likely with the Kenya Railways engineers putting the final touches to a new station in recent weeks.

President Mwai Kibaki is scheduled to flag off the train in October from the ramp of the modern Syokimau station for a 16.2 kilometre run to the Central Railway Station in the city centre.

Kenya Railways management says the service is bound to significantly change the public transport system in Nairobi and its satellite towns.

A modern railway transport system will particularly come as a big relief for the thousands of traffic jam-weary commuters in the city.

While it is all systems go at the Syokimau station, work was on Saturday in top gear to give the central railway station a modern touch as well.

A new ramp has been installed and an electronic ticketing system put in place ahead of the official launch. Under the new system, commuters will use their mobile phones to access the tickets.

A buffer zone has been created at the station to keep the noisy matatus nearby at bay and give commuters a safe and smooth passage.

Kenya Railways managing director Nduva Muli told the Sunday Nation that the 12-minute ride between the city centre and Syokimau is only phase one of the Nairobi Commuter Railway modernisation project that will eventually cover 160 kilometres of the current city network.

“An additional 8.7 kilometres of a new line will be added to complete the 20.5 kilometres Jomo Kenyatta International Airport line,” Mr Muli said. The route will run from the city centre through Makadara, Imara Daima, Embakasi and also link directly from Syokimau.

The corporation says by the third phase in 2014, commuters would be able to connect to the main station from Kikuyu, Kiambu, Ngong, Kiserian and Rongai. Those in Dandora, Ruai will link directly to Jomo Kenyatta Airport and Embakasi.

Some 24 stations would have been built to the same standards, allowing the handling of half a million commuters every day. Only 50,000 people currently use the railway line every day, mostly in the morning and evening peak hours.

Mr Muli sought to dispel fears that the Nairobi Commuter Railway will kill the livelihood of thousands of matatu operators plying these routes or raise transport costs for the commuters.

“Actually we are already beginning to see how this project will put more money in people’s pockets. In the few months of putting up the Syokimau station property value here has picked by nearly 30 per cent,” he said.

The corporation is promoting the “pack and ride” and “kiss and ride” concept to underline the efficiecy and comfort it hopes commuters will get from using the service.

Motorists will have the choice of parking at the stations and taking a ride to the city, saving them costs in time and fuel.

The corporation will charge a parking fee of Sh50 as opposed to the Sh140 charged by the city council. “One would actually save about Sh600 every day once we start running,” Mr Muli said.

There are nearly 3,000 parking slots at the Syokimau station alone. Those with bicycles would also be able to chain them there and take a ride in the 1,200 capacity coaches that will travel at intervals of 30 minutes for peak hours and one hour in the afternoons.

Source: Daily Nation


Commuters in Nairobi Set for Modern Train Service


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