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Kenya Railways tests online ticketing solution

Kenya Railways tests online ticketing solution

Kenya Railways is hoping to tighten its grip on ticket issuance for Madaraka Express SGR Train through an online booking solution still being tested.

As reported by techweez, the arrival of the new Madaraka Express SGR Train in the country has evoked several discussions, most of which are complaints where users are not happy about the mode of ticketing used for the service.

Kenya Railways is thus reported to be on a mission to make sure that it introduces other modes of payment to harness existing methods, one of which being online ticketing.

According to techweez, the platform is currently undergoing a testing phase, although users can already make use of it. "When it finally goes live, passengers will be able to perform multiple actions, including the selection of a one-way or return ticket, travelling dates, cabin of choice, seat selection and mode of payment."

According to Kenya Railways, "Mobile ticketing will also be considered as a component of the online module to address the situation."

At the moment, the public can pay cash or via M-Pesa, a process which Techweez says is lengthy and user-unfriendly. Users have to call a customer care number, give them their details and wait for an SMS. The text has a Pay Bill number that they need to use to pay for the ticket. "Worse, you are needed at the station a couple of minutes before departure to have them print a ticket for you."

"It can be seen why people may be discouraged from using this mode of payment, and the alternative, which involves passengers presenting themselves at the station to manually buy tickets is simply archaic."

Kenya Railways has mentioned that it will start printing passenger info on tickets to counter illegal selling of tickets by third parties at exorbitant prices. The estimated time of arrival of these additions is unknown.

The Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is a standard gauge railway that connects the port city of Mombasa to Kenya's capital city Nairobi.

The railway replaces the parallel metre-gauge railway that was originally built by the British in the 19th century. Under the East African Railway Master Plan, the Mombasa–Nairobi SGR will link up with other standard gauge railways that are being built in East Africa. Construction is already under way on Phase II of the Kenya SGR, which will extend the railway to the Uganda border by 2021.

Upon its launch, President Uhuru Kenyatta, described it as the country's biggest infrastructure development and most expensive investment since the country's independence.

Tracklaying was completed in December 2016, and the passenger train service was inaugurated on 31 May 2017, 18 months ahead of schedule.

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