No room for you in Madaraka Express, we are booked

The Kenya Coast Tourism Association Chairman Mohammed Hersi called for urgent measures to address the issues.

Hundreds of travellers at the Miritini railway station were left stranded as the new Madaraka Express train grappled to meet the high demand.

They hoped to take a ride to Nairobi in the 9am train but were shocked to hear bookings had hit the maximum of 1,200 passengers.

“I can’t believe I will not travel today,” Mr Stanley Mwangi, who expected to have his first experience in the four and half hour journey, said.

“I have been told the ride is so smooth you don’t realize the train is moving and I wanted to have a feel. I am disappointed and until they introduce online booking you will not see me here,” he said.

STATE OF ROAD

Others who were stranded with their families said the management should provide online ticketing so that they can confirm availability of space before going to the station.

There have also been concerns over the sorry state of the road that leads to the station with residents calling for authorities to fix it quickly.

Those accessing the station have also been caught up in traffic snarl ups as trucks avoiding traffic between Changamwe and Miritini section of Mombasa-Nairobi highway block motorists ferrying passengers to the terminus.

PROPER PLANNING

Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina has said a second train will be brought next month to ease the influx, alongside county services that will stop at each of the seven stations between Mombasa and Nairobi.

He blamed state officials of badly executing the project, saying issues like access road to Miritini terminus should have been sorted out three years ago during the construction of the railway.

“Kenyans are excited and happy about this huge project but let us not allow a few officials to sleep on the job. World class is not attained on paper, you have to execute the same on ground,” he said.

SHUTTLE SERVICES

He said the inconveniences in booking can be tackled through online booking.

“Buses have been accepting payment via M-Pesa close to a decade now. If anything, someone slept on the job. In project management we must always keep in mind functionality,” Mr Hersi added.

He also challenged authorities to speed up construction of a road linking to the Mombasa terminus and consider introducing shuttle services with capacity to handle huge number of train passengers, currently using rickshaws, boda boda and matatus, to beat the gridlock.

“It’s good they are earning a living and I am happy for them but a world class station that is meant to ferry 1,200 passengers cannot depend on motorcycles for drop off…it does not work.

“The contractor is only making an already bad situation worse. He has…relegated an already narrow road to a useless single lane that gets clogged.”

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