President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, November 10, launched the new commuter trains which are expected to serve Nairobians in a bid to ease traffic congestion into the city.
With the new project, Nairobi commuters will board the new trains from various railway stations which are linked to the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.
11 Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) were acquired for the railway system at a cost of Ksh1.5 Billion.
The new trains have a distinct design with the seats spaced between compartments.
The units will serve a number of Nairobi estates and provide enhanced transport in the high-density residential areas of Ruiru, Mwiki, Embakasi Village, Athi River, Kikuyu, Kahawa, Githurai, Dandora, Pipeline, and Donholm.
The new commuter rail network, which will have day-long hourly train service to and from the 10 stations, will also be integrated with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will connect the Nairobi Central Station with existing matatu and commuter bus termini.
Speaking when he commissioned the new look Nairobi Central Railway Station and unveiled commuter rail service across 10 stations in the Nairobi Metropolitan region, President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the Government has so far spent Ksh6.6 billion in upgrading the commuter rail stations within the Nairobi Metropolitan region, including the access roads as well as the integrated and modern ticketing system that accommodates offsite booking.
“The estimated value of time lost to travel in Nairobi, as an example, is between Ksh 80 million and 400 million per month, with congestion costing the country about Ksh 50 million daily.
“Needless to say, this loss in productivity has impacted adversely the growth of our economy,” President Kenyatta noted.
In the modernisation programme of the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service, the Nairobi Central Railway Station was also refurbished with new ticketing areas, equipped with CCTV camera monitoring, server rooms as well as security screening areas.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga indicated that on average 30,000 to 40,000 passengers would be moving through the station.
With the improved capacity in the Nairobi Commuter Rail service, he expects to up the numbers to 150,000 people per day which translates to 3 million passengers per month.
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.
To improve efficiency, the trains will have a maximum of 2 minutes to board or alight with set times to access the different stations.
NMS and KR have also partnered to ensure all walkways to and from railway stations are paved to ensure that the commuters don't step off the train only to wade through mud and water puddles, especially during the rainy season.
How to pay fares on New Nairobi Commuter Trains
There is a cash payment option at the ticketing areas as well as an option for mobile money.
1. Go to M-PESA menu
2. Select Lipa Na M-Pesa
3. Select Pay Bill option
4. Enter 4062323 as the business number
5. Enter your route name as the account number
6. Enter the amount
7. Enter your pin and press ok