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KR bets on online SGR train tickets to curb fraud

SGR

PASSENGERS BOARD THE MADARAKA EXPRESS TRAIN AT THE NAIROBI TERMINUS ON JUNE 7. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Since June, passengers have been paying their fares via M-Pesa, a move which was expected to remove the racket.
  • In the racket, the middlemen buy the tickets at the normal price of Sh700 and sell them at more than Sh1,000 each. An economy class ticket costs Sh700 while a first class one goes for Sh3,000.
  • Through an online ticketing system, passengers can book seats, buy and print out tickets, pay fares and receive e-invoices without having to visit a railway station.

Passengers using the SGR trains between Nairobi and Mombasa will soon buy tickets online, closing a gap that middlemen are exploiting to fleece travellers by selling tickets at higher rates.

Since June, passengers have been paying their fares via M-Pesa, a move which was expected to remove the racket.

However, this has proved unreliable as passengers must book at least two days in advance to be sure of getting a seat. They must also present themselves in person at the terminus to pick their tickets.

“Kenya Railways would like to inform the members of the public that we acknowledge and take seriously the concerns raised about the mode of ticketing in use on the Madaraka Express Train Service,” it said yesterday in newspaper notices.

In the racket, the middlemen buy the tickets at the normal price of Sh700 and sell them at more than Sh1,000 each. An economy class ticket costs Sh700 while a first class one goes for Sh3,000.

Buses plying the route spend at least eight hours on the road and charge between Sh900 and Sh2,500 for the journey.

“To address the concern, we are working to introduce other modes of payment as a top priority; this includes online ticketing. Mobile applications will also be considered as a component of the online module to address the situation.”

Through an online ticketing system, passengers can book seats, buy and print out tickets, pay fares and receive e-invoices without having to visit a railway station.

Kenya Railways said it would also introduce passenger details on the tickets to prevent the illegal brokerage.

“We are also in the process of revising the ticket format, and we will soon be rolling out a new version of the tickets incorporating passenger’s details, thus addressing the issue of unscrupulous purchase and resale of the tickets at a premium,” said Kenya Railways.

Customers have been asked not to buy tickets from middlemen in order to curb the illegal business.

READ: You can now buy SGR tickets via M-Pesa - VIDEO

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