Kenya Railways;3 years old now have to help pay the Chinese debts
Kenya Railways on Friday doubled fares for children using standard gauge railway (SGR) Madaraka Express trains.
The review, effective June 1, is part of a plan to raise more revenue to repay a multi-billion-shilling Chinese debt incurred in building the railway.
Minors between the age of three and 11 have been paying Sh1,500 for first-class tickets and Sh500 for economy. The new fares will be Sh3,000 and Sh1,000 respectively.
“Minors above three years shall (now) pay full fares,” read a company notice.
In a statement titled “Improvement of the Madaraka Express Passenger Service”, the corporation also announced that passengers will be allowed to book their preferred seats on the train online, just like with airlines. The period for advance booking was also extended from 30 to 60 days.
The management also said minors will be required to present their parents’ or guardians’ identity cards during booking and a copy of the document when travelling alone.
“In addition to M-Pesa, passengers can now pay for the ticket using credit/debit cards for online booking. Each passenger will be allowed only two pieces of luggage, not exceeding 30 kilogrammes and 1.6 metres in height and length,” said the management.
In January, Mr Philip Mainga, the acting Kenya Railways managing director, told the media that the company had proposed a review to remove the government subsidy.
“We are looking at a model where charges will be based on the seat irrespective of the traveller’s age,” he said.
In the new rules, passengers travelling with invalid or no tickets will be fined full fare and an extra 30 per cent penalty.
Requests for a refund will be accepted 48 and 72 hours before the time of travel for individuals and groups, respectively.
People seeking refunds will lose 30 per cent of the ticket price. Refunds can be obtained via M-Pesa if it was the mode used to pay.
Rescheduling will be allowed between 48 to 72 hours before travel time and will attract a 10 per cent fine of the ticket price. A ticket can be rescheduled only once.