The standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger service between Nairobi and Mombasa is fully booked ahead of the Easter holiday in a move which could force travellers to seek expensive alternatives like roads and air travel.
Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) said tickets for the express train are fully booked on April 18 and April 19 for passengers travelling to the coastal town of Mombasa from Nairobi.
The train from Mombasa to Nairobi is also fully booked on April 22 with only a few seats left on second class coaches on April 23, boosting hotelier’s fortunes at the coastal town of Mombasa.
Bus owners and airlines like Fly540, Silverstone and Jambojet are also set to reap big as families rush to enjoy the holiday.
“We are fully booked on 18th and 19th April from Nairobi to Mombasa on the express train. The train is also booked on its way back to Nairobi from Mombasa on April 22,” said Kenya Railways acting managing director Philip Mainga.
Airlines have also increased fares from Nairobi to Mombasa with planes getting fully booked in the days to Easter festivities.
Ticket prices for early bookings between April 17 and 19 have almost doubled on the same route compared to reservations made earlier in the month.
This is an indication that Kenyans intending to fly during the Easter season will pay more, promising to boost revenues of the carriers which have received a lift from increased tourist arrivals.
Those flying to Mombasa between April 18 on Jambojet are paying up to Sh9,500, up from about Sh4, 000.
Its rival Fly540 has increased fares to Sh9,270 for April 18 flights, up from an average of Sh3,950. These fares are based on yesterday’s bookings and they will continue rising as we move closer to Easter festivities.
“As usual, majority of Kenyans will wait to buy an air ticket at the eleventh hour. Definitely, they have to pay dearly for it as demand is always high,” said Silverstone Air sales and marketing manager Patrick Oketch.
Kenya Railways has steadily increased coaches on the Nairobi-Mombasa line, since the SGR launch in June 2017, to match rising demand that has denied bus operators new customers.