Kenya Railways will next month increase the frequency of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger trains between Mombasa and Nairobi to accommodate increasing demand from travellers.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said Thursday that four more Madaraka Express trains will transport passengers between Mombasa and Nairobi starting July.
Beginning next month, three trains will transport commuters to Nairobi daily while three others ferry passengers to Mombasa.
The increase in trains connecting the capital and the coastal hub brings the total number to six a day.
Speaking at Diani Reef Beach Resort in Kwale, Mr Balala added that following the introduction of the train services, hotels in Mombasa had experienced a rise in the number of domestic tourists.
The first train, which will make stopovers at stations like Voi and Mtito Andei along the way, will depart from Mombasa at 8 a.m. while the second - which will be express - will depart at 9 a.m.
Mr Balala explained that the third train will also be express and will depart from the port city at 3 p.m.
“It has come to our understanding that many travellers have been missing the opportunity to travel by rail. Some groups of tourists have been unable to travel to Mombasa due to limited seats,” he said.
Mr Balala was optimistic that the move will boost tourism in Mombasa and Nairobi and go a long way in reviving the industry.
Meanwhile, Mr Balala suggested that construction of a bridge between Mombasa Island and Likoni could offer a lasting solution to the transport crisis in the area.
He said that although the government would soon receive two new ferries built in Turkey, they will not be a lasting solution to mass transport challenges on the channel.
“The major challenge crippling tourism in the South Coast is the problem of transport on the Likoni channel. The solution is for the government is to build a bridge,” he said.
However, Mr Balala noted that when the Dongo Kundu bypass project is completed, it would help address transport problems between Mombasa and Kwale counties.