Relief for Nairobians as Uhuru launches commuter rail system - Beaking Kenya News

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Relief for Nairobians as Uhuru launches commuter rail system

 

President Uhuru Kenyatta will on Tuesday morning launch the Nairobi Commuter Rail System.

The system consists of new Diesel Mobile Units and Commuter Rail Buses.

The Nairobi Central Station will serve as the nerve centre of operations connecting to 10 stations in satellite towns, including newly built stations in Donholm and Pipeline.

Part of the fleet of the new Commuter Rail Buses at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.
Part of the fleet of the new Commuter Rail Buses at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

Currently, there are commuter train services on Nairobi - Imara Daima-Syokimau route, Nairobi - Githurai - Mwiki - Kahawa – Ruiru route, Nairobi-Embakasi route, and Nairobi - Kibera – Kikuyu route.

Kenya Railways is targeting to serve up to 230,000 passengers daily once the commuter rail is launched.

The project has been touted as a game-changer in the reduction of both vehicular and human traffic jams in the city.

Passengers will save both time and money and at the same time enjoy much-needed comfort on their way to and from the city centre.

The commuter rail is part of the Master Plan of an integrated commuter system within the city and its environs. It also comprises the Bus Rapid Transit, monorail and underground rail.

Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga had earlier said daily, on average they move 30,000 to 40,000 passengers through the station.

He noted that everyday Kenya Railways is operating a minimum of three trains in the morning, and another three in the evening, in all these routes.

Kenya Railways purchased 11 sets of Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs).

One of the new Diesel Mobile Unit at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.
One of the new Diesel Mobile Unit at the Nairobi Central Railway Station.
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

“What we are planning now, after renovation and rehabilitation of the stations that you saw, we expect in which every one hour that we will be having about 40,000 people exiting, and getting through this station within one to two hours,” Mainga said.

Ticket examiners at the Nairobi Central Railways Station.
Ticket examiners at the Nairobi Central Railways Station.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

“That number would translate from 30 or 40 to around almost 150,000 people per day and ultimately we are expecting that we will be moving three million passengers per month throng these stations,” he added.

The newly rehabilitated Nairobi Railway Station has the ticketing office with six booths for payment of which one has been set aside for the physically challenged.

Commuters can either pay using cash or mobile transaction via Mpesa.

There is a bar and a restaurant for commuters and also a VIP lounge.

Hand wash points and litre bins have been set up at strategic points within the station

There are also washrooms for commuters as they wait to board the trains.

Inside the Commuter trains, the seats are divided into two rows where the sitting arrangement is similar to what we have with the SGR trains.

There are fire extinguishers set inside the DMUs and is a no-smoking zone area.

Air ventilation is regulated with the upper windows inside the DMUs.

Kenya Railways MD Mainga noted that the train platforms have been designed in a manner which commuters will not struggle to board the trains.

“We have raised, our stage, our platforms in such a way that our customers will not need to struggle. Where you see this platform, it is to be the edge of the train and when the door is open, you just need to walk in without any problem and that means we are the physically challenged, the elderly, and even the rest of the people because of the rush. You do not need to skid or rather open door where you can hurt yourself,” he said.

There is an underground tunnel where commuters use while boarding or alighting trains which are not near the main platform.

The staff working at the station will be dressed in the Kenya Railways colour of yellow, red and maroon.

The schedule section at the Nairobi Central Railways Station.
The schedule section at the Nairobi Central Railways Station.
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

 

The Nairobi Commuter Rail Service (NCR) was introduced in May 1992 in response to a series of strikes by the Matatu minibus operators.

But over the years, there has been a low level of demand which according to the new managing director has been due to poor standards of the station’s facilities.

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