Kenyans planning to use Madaraka Express from Nairobi to Mombasa and vice versa have a glimmer of hope after the government announced that operations are set to resume on Monday.
According to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport Mr. James Macharia, Kenya Railways will deploy 10 coaches that will carry just 60 percent of the normal capacity to adhere to the guidelines by the Ministry of Health of people staying at least 1 meter apart.
On a normal day, one Madaraka Express carries at least 1000 passengers. With the new directive, the train is going to ferry at least 600 passengers on every trip. The government has also suspended the serving of refreshments in the train.
According to the CS, Kenya Railways will set aside one coach that will be used as an isolation center in the event that one of the passengers or workers on the train will display the Covid-19 symptoms along the way.
Madaraka Express movement between Mombasa ana Nairobi had been stopped following the cessation of movement that had been imposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop the spread of Covid-19 among passengers. The cessation of movement was lifted on July 6, 2020.
There is likely to be an increase in the transport costs following the low number of tickets already sold. Also, given that the train will be carrying 40 fewer passengers, the price is likely to go up in order to cater for the costs.
Kenyans who have been hit hard with the ongoing pandemic are struggling to find ways that will take them out of the city to their rural homes. This is likely to see the train out of Mombasa full as people try to reach Nairobi to catch the bus to their homes.