New trains launched by Uhuru fail to sustain passenger upsurge

Rail passengers fail to board the new Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) trains due to the upsurge of the numbers/Picture by Samson Oyugi

By Samson Oyugi

Barely a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the refurbished Nairobi Central Railway Station and launched Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) to complement existing wagons; Railways staff struggled to accommodate huge passengers who had arrived, ready to travel to various destinations on Wednesday evening.

The passengers, most of them who had flocked the station few minutes to departure time were left stranded after they were locked out without any explanation.

Those affected were travelling to Mutindwa, Dandora, Mwiki, Githurai up to Ruiru and Donholm, Pipeline to Embakasi.

The Ruiru destined train usually leaves the station at 20 minutes to six in the evening while the Embakasi one departs 10 minutes later.

It took the intervention of the Managing Director Philip Mainga, who had made an  impromptu visit to the station for the gates to be opened for the locked out customers who had gathered at the gates pleading with security officers manning the entrance to open for them, claiming they had arrived within the stipulated time.

When the MD arrived few minutes to six, already the train for Ruiru had left leaving behind many passengers who were forced to look for alternative ways in order to travel.

However, hundreds of passengers travelling through Donholm, Pipeline to Embakasi were rescued by the MD  who caught the management unawares.

After the MD’s order for the gates to be opened, still one of the staff members, a lady had insisted that the gates should remain closed but was alerted on the MD’s presence by her colleagues.

The MD said the hitch was caused by passengers not planning well so that the management can take them through security checks before being allowed to board.

He appealed to passengers to manage their time well and arrive at the station early for them to go through covid protocols.

“The country is fighting a pandemic and  our management is adhering to laid down structures from MOH.We urge passengers to come early so that they can undergo security checks and  covid protocols before they board,” he said.

Most of the passengers we interviewed asked Kenya Railways to increase trips so that they can accomodate more travellers.

“The Railway management should add trips to destinations that have a large customer base. Let them understand that covid 19 has eaten into our savings and now we don’t have much money to give to matatu operators who charge exorbitantly. Now I am forced to spend ksh 60 more,” said Mwaniki Kamau who was travelling to Mwiki but was left by the train.

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