Posta will over the next one month run a pilot project to provide last-mile connections for standard gauge railway (SGR) passengers, the latest bid in the company’s efforts to diversify its revenue sources.
Postmaster-General Dan Kagwe says passengers will be charged Sh100 for the journey from Syokimau to the Nairobi city centre as it tests the commercial viability of the venture.
However, Mr Kagwe says that Posta will hold back on fully-fledged operations unless the modern train increases the frequency of passenger trains to more than one round trip per day.
“If it makes business sense we will continue doing it. Frankly speaking, if we’re doing one train it might not be very viable business,” he said.
Posta reported a Sh1.5 billion loss in the financial year ended June, the worst performance in its history.
It had earlier this week launched SGR commemorative stamps that are projected to generate Sh200 million in revenue.
Mr Kagwe said Posta will also switch to transporting its parcels and mail via train, cutting on the higher road transport costs.
“This means we can do same day mails in Mombasa. We’ll get our trucks off the road and if it is possible we will get a postal wagon,” he said.
Posta is also planning to open offices at some of the major stations along the SGR route.
The passenger service of the Sh327 billion Nairobi-Mombasa SGR line was launched officially by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday.
Although passengers already had the option of switching onto the Rift Valley Railways (RVR) train at Syokimau, there had been concerns that the SGR would be at a competitive disadvantage to buses from Mombasa given that its final stop is approximately 16 kilometres from Nairobi city centre.
Buses, on the other hand, can drop passengers in the heart of the city.