Counties

Mombasa SGR trains fully booked over a month to Christmas

sgr

A Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Passenger arrives at the Miritini Station in Mombasa in this photo taken on October 14, 2021. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Summary

  • The bookings register shows that the trains are fully booked between December 23 and 24 with the few seats available on December 25 set to be snapped up in the coming days.
  • Airlines have increased fares from Nairobi to Mombasa ahead of Christmas on early bookings and the ticket prices are expected to rise further in the coming days.

The standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger service from Nairobi to Mombasa is fully booked ahead of Christmas in a move set to force holidaymakers to seek expensive alternatives like road and air travel.

The bookings register shows that the trains are fully booked between December 23 and 24 with the few seats available on December 25 set to be snapped up in the coming days.

This is set to boost bus companies and airlines like Jambojet and Fly540 as families look to enjoy the holiday at the coast.

Airlines have also increased fares from Nairobi to Mombasa ahead of Christmas on early bookings and the ticket prices are expected to rise further in the coming days.

“The trains are fully booked up to December 24. We have seen a change in trend where passengers are booking for their tickets earlier” said the corporation in a statement yesterday.

Increased bookings have also been witnessed barely a few days to Christmas, an indicator that more people will opt to travel to the coast, way before Christmas.

For instance, on December 22, the SGR train has a few seats available, mainly in the economy coaches as the first-class section is fully booked.

Fares on the economy class section are Sh1,000 with first-class tickets going for Sh3,000.

Children below three years are not charged any fee to take a ride on the train while those from 3-11 years pay half the price adults pay on the economy and first-class tickets.

However, the traffic on bookings eases from December 26 with availability on economy class and a few seats on first class.

Ticket prices for early plane bookings between December 22 and 24 have nearly doubled on some routes compared to reservations made a month ago while some flights are close to full bookings for the Christmas period.

This means that Kenyans intending to fly during the festive season will pay more, promising to boost revenues of the carriers that were hit hard by tight travel measures imposed by the State to curb Covid-19.

Those booking now to fly to Mombasa on December 24 on Jambojet are paying up to Sh17,500 on a one-way air ticket, up from about Sh8,000.

Its rival in the domestic market Fly540 will be charging Sh15,940 fare on one a one-way ticket on December 24 if travellers book now, up from an average of Sh6,540 it was charging on November 16.

The carriers’ main challenge has been convincing Kenyans to book early, which is vital to the low-cost model.

“We have seen demand for air travel picking steadily in the last few weeks. We look to register more bookings in the coming weeks,” said a Fly540 executive.

[email protected]