NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Mike Otieno walked briskly to the Standard Gauge
Railway (SGR) booking office in Nairobi at the sunset on
Saturday in the hope of securing a ticket to travel to the
coastal city of Mombasa for family reunion over the festive
entrepreneur in his mid-20s was elated when the booking clerks
assured him that there were a few tickets up for grabs following
last minute cancellations by previous holders.
forward to traveling to Mombasa using the SGR commuter trains
dubbed Madaraka Express for the first time with excitement after
having heard from friends about the joy and thrills accompanying
the four and half hours ride.
“I’m here to
negotiate for a ticket to travel to Mombasa a day before
Christmas,” he said.
“I will be spending
more than seven days in Mombasa for holidays and connect with
some of my relatives who live there.”
booking office at the Nairobi SGR Terminus was a beehive of
activities as potential travelers exchanged pleasantries while
waiting for their turn to be served by ticketing clerks.
“So many people
including my close relatives and friends have narrated to me the
wonderful experience of traveling to Mombasa using the SGR
passenger service.” said Otieno.
Kenya’s SGR commuter
services have resonated with Christmas travelers for the second
year running given its affordability, unrivalled comfort, speed
The modern commuter
train service which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on
May 31 last year, has so far ferried more than two million
passengers along the Chinese-built 480 km Mombasa-Nairobi
John Mwenja, a
booking clerk at the Nairobi SGR Terminus, said that the festive
season witnessed a huge demand for tickets among Kenyan
holidaymakers keen to spend quality time in the coastal beaches.
“This festive season
has been very busy for us at the booking office. Both the
inter-county and express trains are fully booked till the end of
December. However, several last-minute passengers have benefited
from cancellations,” said Mwenja.
He revealed that
Madaraka Express operator has come up with innovative measures
to accommodate the surging number of passengers in this festive
season, which includes increasing the number of coaches.
“It is our hope that
commuters will enjoy the ride as we endeavor to provide
outstanding service,” said Mwenja.
Joseph Maluki, an
accountant with a Nairobi-based listed company, had travelled to
the Nairobi SGR Terminus on Saturday to enquire about the status
of his ticket that he had secured late November.
The father of two
said he planned to spend the festive season in Mombasa with his
family after a year marked with grueling work and frequent
“I have used the SGR
commuter train several times during my business trips to Mombasa
but it will be different this Christmas holiday,” said Maluki.
As a frequent
traveler with the modern train, Maluki has grown accustomed to
its atmosphere that includes comfortable seats, friendly crew
and unhindered interaction with passengers.
Maureen Jeroph, a
booking clerk at the Nairobi SGR Terminus, said that the large
number of Mombasa bound passengers using Madaraka Express
reaffirmed its enduring impact on local travel, commerce and
“I would confidently
say that we booked a higher number of travelers this festive
season compared to the previous year and that is a remarkable
feat,” said Jeroph.
“The SGR train
service is connecting our people as it makes travel between
Nairobi and Mombasa a memorable experience,” Jeroph added.
Minutes later, it
was Lucy’s turn to be served by Jeroph. The business
administration major in her early 20s requested to be updated on
the status of her ticket to Mombasa where she intended to spend
a week with a group of friends.
“I booked my ticket
in mid-November and looked forward to a thrilling beach holiday
with friends,” said Lucy.