The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo and passenger revenues have recorded a 7.8 per cent growth to Ksh7.1 billion, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The data shows that the passenger train crossed the Ksh1 billion threshold in a half-year period for the first time since it was inaugurated, bolstering attempts for the project to break even.
As a result of President William Ruto’s decision to move port operations back to Mombasa, modern rail is preparing to struggle due to increasing competition from road transporters.
The passenger train made Ksh1.24 billion in the six months ended June, a 49.6 percent increase compared to Ksh829 million it made during the same period last year. The cargo service, which primarily subsidises the passenger line, saw a slight increase from Ksh6.04 billion in the same period last year to Ksh6.17 billion in the most recent six months.
Kenya needs extra funding from the railroad industry to lessen the financial burden of repaying the loan on the taxpayers and on the Chinese company that manages the SGR passenger and freight trains.
Since the SGR began operations in 2017, the collections which were mostly fueled by a jump in the number of passengers throughout the period were highest in the first half of the year.
The SGR sold 1.121 million tickets in the six months ending in June, a 48.7% rise from 754,313 tickets during the same period last year, reflecting an increase in passenger volume.
In addition to running intercounty services with stops at Athi River, Emali, Kibwezi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Miasenyi, and Mariakani stations, SGR also runs passenger services from Nairobi to Mombasa.
On the express train that runs between Nairobi and Mombasa, passengers pay Ksh1,000 for tickets in the economy class and Ksh3,000 for seats in the fast class.
The inter-county fare varies depending on the station. A trip from Nairobi to Emali in economy class costs Ksh260. Children under the age of three ride the train for free, while children aged three to eleven pay half the price adults do for the economy and first-class tickets.
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