Online booking of Madaraka train tickets set to start

Madaraka Express train passengers check-in at the Mombasa terminus
Madaraka Express train passengers check-in at the Mombasa terminus on June 8, 2017. Online booking of tickets is set to start. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The government will on Saturday start the online booking of Madaraka Express train tickets.

Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the system has been finalised so that the ticketing process will be done electronically.

The new system, according to the CS, will lock out unscrupulous businessmen and brokers from reselling the tickets at exorbitant prices.

“In financial terms we call it arbitrage. It entails finding an opportunity where people can trade.

"They identified a gap whereby they get the ticket at a cheaper price and trade it expensively,” Mr Macharia said in Mombasa.

Mr Macharia said brokers identified the gap at the Sh327 billion Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway rain service and took advantage of the situation.

“We launched the services but as expected because it was a new project, there was going to be some teething problems like those we experienced with ticketing,” the CS said, noting demand for the service is very high.

ID card

To buy the online ticket, a passenger must have an Identification Card.

“The ID number is keyed into the system and in case there is duplication, it will immediately be flagged. Therefore, nobody will be allowed to buy more than two tickets,” he insisted.
The new initiative will render youth engaging in the ticketing business in Mombasa jobless.

The youth buy the tickets in bulk from the company and deliver them to their customers, charging some fees.

“We are not reselling the tickets as insinuated, we are only charging to ferry them from Miritini station to your doorstep and that’s about Sh300 extra from the Sh700 charged by the company for economy class,” one of the agents said.
He observed that if one goes to buy tickets at the station, they will spend several hours at the Mombasa-Nairobi highway gridlock.

“More so you will use more than Sh300 to and fro the terminus. But if you pay me, I drop it at your doorstep,” the agent who uses a motorcycle added.

The agent said he had reaped more than Sh100,000 to deliver the tickets to his clients since the introduction of the Madaraka Express services from June 1.