Nairobi-Syokimau Route Train Fares Reduced by 40%

A man boards a train at the Syokimau station. Kenya Railways Corporation has reduced fares by 40 per cent on the Nairobi-Syokimau route. Photo/FILE  NATION

A man boards a train at the Syokimau station.  Photo/FILE NATION

Train fares have been reduced by 40 per cent on the Nairobi-Syokimau route. This new commuter train is the first of its kind since Kenya’s independence in 1963. The new Syokimau station is the first railway station built in Kenya in more than 80 years.
When the service was launched in mid-November last year, fares were between Sh100 and Sh120 one way for the 18-kilometre journey that takes about 30 minutes. From Monday, the fare will be Sh30 for a one-way ticket between Syokimau and the central business district from the previous Sh50. A return ticket at peak hours will now cost Sh100. The 9.40am hour train departing Nairobi has been rescheduled to 9am, whereas the evening train will leave for Syokimau at 7.30pm.

In a statement on Thursday, the Kenya Railways Corporation said the new fares were due to an assessment of commuter travel habits in Nairobi and aimed to stimulate demand for off peak train services. The new off-peak fares will target the Nairobi–Syokimau 8.10 am and 7.30 pm and the Syokimau–Nairobi 9am and 6.45 pm train runs. The corporation has also partnered with an independent public transporter to offer ‘Rail to Bus and Bus to Rail’ services.

Commuters from Syokimau , Mlolongo, Athi River and Kitengela can opt to take a rail-connect bus from the Syokimau station. Those at the Nairobi railways station will be shuttled onward to their work areas in Upper Hill, Kenyatta National Hospital and Westlands during peak hours,” read the statement from the corporation.

When the service was launched in mid-November last year, fares were between Sh100 and Sh120 one way for the 18-kilometre journey that takes about 30 minutes. Commuters boycotted the service, saying, the fare was too high. The new reduced fares albeit a very welcome change, are still too high for a large segment of the population. Also, the new fares target only the off peak hours.

The Syokimau train service now has three round trips. This is a reduction from five trips when it started, with the first train leaving Syokimau station at 7.05am and the last train departing Nairobi railway station at 7.30pm.

History

Approximately 16,000 families living on the railway reserve in slum areas are being relocated to pave the way for the Nairobi Commuter Rail project to decongest the city’s transport system and clear the way for drainage channels. Flooding has previously forced the commuter service to halt. The families, mostly from Kibera and Mukuru slums, have been contacted and will be moving to new houses whose construction is being funded by the World Bank at a cost of Sh3.4 billion. Each family will have a house and a shop.

Full story: Train Fares cut for Syokimau Commuters

Published on Thursday, April 18  2013 at  21:14 in The Nation

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