The Madaraka Express is a passenger train service that connects the capital city, Nairobi, to the coastal city of Mombasa.
The train service was officially launched in 2017 and operates on a standard gauge railway (SGR) line, which was the first of its kind in East Africa.
Now, Madaraka has announced that travelers will no longer be able to pay for their tickets using cash.
Rather, these customers now will have to use mobile money services or debit/credit cards at all Points of Service.
We wish to notify our customers and the general public that effective 1st February 2023, we will no longer be accepting cash for the purchase of tickets at all Madaraka Express Passenger Service stations. – says the train service in a statement.
The Madaraka Express is operated by the Kenya Railways Corporation and has two trains that run daily in each direction between Nairobi and Mombasa.
The journey between the two cities takes approximately 4.5 hours, which is significantly faster than traveling via road.
The train service has a capacity of 1,220 passengers per trip and has been successful in attracting a high number of passengers, with daily passenger numbers reaching up to 4,000 and more.
The standard gauge railway line that the Madaraka Express runs on was built at a cost of $3.2 billion, financed by a loan from China Exim Bank.
The railway line has also been extended to other cities in Kenya, such as Kisumu and Naivasha.
It also provides an alternative mode of transport for cargo from Mombasa to the upcountry.
SGR Tech in Other African Countries
Ethiopia launched its SGR service in 2016, connecting the capital city Addis Ababa to the port city of Djibouti. The railway line was also built with funding from China Exim Bank.
In 2019, Tanzania also opened an SGR line connecting Dar es Salaam to the country’s capital Dodoma.
Other African countries such as Nigeria, Algeria, and Morocco have also begun construction or planning for SGR lines, with the goal of modernizing their railway infrastructure.