Taxis see new JKIA commuter trains hurting business


Transport CS James Macharia arrives at Embakasi Railway Station during the commissioning of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Express Service on December 7, 2020. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

Taxi operators at the airport are staring at reduced business in the future with the introduction of the commuter train linking the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to city centre.

The train, which will connect to high capacity buses at the Embakasi Village, is likely to impact negatively on taxi operators as many passengers would prefer to use the Kenya Railways Services to avoid the notorious traffic on Mombasa Road.

Kenya Railways said passengers who will use the JKIA express route will have to part with Sh500 for each train ride while those who will opt to use inter-station services will part with Sh100.

At the moment, a journey from JKIA to CBD would cost more than Sh600 when using online taxi services such as Uber and Bolt with passengers having to cope with huge traffic along the way.

Economist Toni Watima says whereas the new move might impact on the taxis, it does not spell their death completely.

He said the taxis that operate outside the airport are the ones that are likely to be hit by the current development.

“The taxis that are based at the airport will still have some work to do as they will be used mainly by the foreigners who do not know their way around. However, those outside the airport are likely to suffer with the introduction of the JKIA train link,” said Mr Watima.

Passengers travelling to the airport, he noted will embrace the train because of the Mombasa Road traffic that at times has seen travellers spend up to three hours on the road.

There have been cases of travellers missing their flights because of huge traffic to the airport with the situation now worsened by the ongoing construction work on Mombasa Road.

Last week, Kenya Airways issued traffic advisory to passengers to be aware of the delays occasioned by the construction work of the Express Way that links the airport to Rironi, warning the passengers to plan ahead of time in order to catch their flights.