Kenya Railways to Tighten Grip on Ticket Issuance, Hints Finalization of the Online Booking Platform

Madaraka Express

The arrival of the Madaraka Express SGR Train has brought up a number of discussions, most of which are complaints where users are not happy about the mode of ticketing used for the service.

To address these concerns, Kenya Railways is on a mission to make sure that it introduces other modes of payment to harness existing methods. One of the modes it hopes to put in place is online ticketing that we covered in a earlier post. Summarily, the platform is undergoing tests, although you can actually jump right in and explore its provisions. When it finally goes live, passengers will be able to perform multiple actions, including the selection of a one-way or return ticket, travelling dates, cabin of choice, seat selection and mode of payment.

Remember, this was solution that was to go live a little over a month ago.

”Mobile ticketing will also be considered as a component of the online module to address the situation,” Kenya Railways said.

At the moment, the public can pay cash or via MPESA. We discovered how lengthy and user-unfriendly the procedure is in this post. To recap, you have to call a customer care number (wow), give them your details and wait for an SMS. The text has a Pay Bill number that you need to use to pay for the ticket. Worse, you are needed at the station a couple of minutes before departure to have them print a ticket for you.

Here are our gripes: why do you need to call a customer care agent to book a ticket (we are not sure if the call is toll-free or otherwise), rather than go to the Paybill option on phone and get it over with? Why should they print a ticket upon arrival at the station? Passengers should just pick the ticket (that should be printed as soon as payment is made) and skip going through hurdles that have already been jumped during the tedious MPESA payment method.

It can be seen why people may be discouraged from using this mode of payment, and the alternative, which involves passengers presenting themselves at the station to manually buy tickets is simply archaic.

Kenya Railways has mentioned that it will start printing passenger info on tickets (something they should have done in the first place) to counter illegal selling of tickets by third parties at exorbitant prices.

The estimated time of arrival of these additions is unknown, so sit tight.