Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has taken over the ticketing, security, and fueling operations of the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) from the Chinese firm Afristar.
By Clinton Ochieng
Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has taken over the ticketing, security, and fueling operations of the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) from the Chinese firm Afristar. The takeover process is expected to be complete by May 2022.
KRC contracted Africa Star Railways (Afristar), a subsidiary company of China Road and Bridge Corporation, to manage SGR operations and maintenance.
The operator is supposed to be in control of passenger ticketing and revenue collection. KRC marketed the service at its own cost to find customers. The corporation, however, was excluded from collecting revenues from sales.
Previously, the ticketing operations were riddled with scandals where Afristar, the Chinese operator of the SGR line, was accused of running largely unchecked operations where train cabins would routinely be artificially fully booked. As a result, the Nairobi to Mombasa passenger train service appeared almost always packed a situation marked up by Kenyans’ excitement to ride the train only for agents to later sell the tickets to desperate travelers at first-class rates.
This situation seems to be one of the reasons why KRC is taking over from Afristar who appear to be mismanaging the trains which Kenya is still to see its advantages given the huge amount of money that was pumped into the project.