Six Madaraka Express trains to start operating in July

The government will next month increase Madaraka Express frequencies between Mombasa and Nairobi to create room for more travellers.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said from July, three Madaraka Express trains will be transporting passengers to Nairobi and another three will ferry passengers to Mombasa daily.

He said the increase of trains from two to six was as a result of huge passenger demand with people from Nairobi travelling by rail to Mombasa for holiday.

Speaking at Diani Reef Beach Resort in Kwale on Thursday, Mr Balala added that following the introduction of the Madaraka Express, hotels in Mombasa had been experiencing a rise in domestic tourists.
STOP-OVER

He said the first train, which will be making stop-overs at various stations will depart from Mombasa at 8am, while the second that will travel non-stop will depart at 9am.

Mr Balala explained that the third train, that will also not make any stop-overs, will depart from Mombasa at 3pm.

Trains from Nairobi to Mombasa will also depart at similar intervals.

“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.

The Cabinet Secretary said the increase of Madaraka Express frequencies would boost tourism in Mombasa and Nairobi and help the government’s efforts to revive the industry.

LIKONI CHANNEL

On the other hand, Mr Balala explained that the construction of a bridge between Mombasa island and Likoni will solve the transport crisis in South Coast.

He said two new ferries, which are being built in Turkey, will only ease congestion but not address all challenges faced by commuters on the channel.

“The major challenge crippling tourism in the South Coast is transport on the Likoni channel. The solution is for the government to build a bridge,” he said.

NATIONAL PARKS

Mr Balala noted that the Dongo Kundu bypass project is almost complete it would address transport problems between Mombasa and Kwale counties.

Meanwhile, Mr Balala notified that only tour companies with a minimum of two vehicles will be issued with licenses to transport tourists to national parks.

He said tour firms with only one vehicle will be denied licences.

The move, he said, is aimed at getting rid of individuals who operate tour business illegally.

“We want to improve standards in the transportation of tourists to the national parks and game reserves. In this way, we shall attract more safari seekers,” he added.

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