It is ridiculous that SGR online ticketing is not live 2 months after launch

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Despite the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), making travel to and from Mombasa easier and faster, booking a ticket on the train has been as elusive as trying to catch a chicken that’s your dinner.

Currently, there are only two ways that you can book a ticket. The first is by physically showing up to the station or by the very cumbersome process that involves calling their customer care number, reserving a ticket and paying via M-Pesa. But then, their customer care number doesn’t always go through so you still have to physically go to the train station to buy a ticket. On top of that,the ticket format is quite vague as it doesn’t show the name and ID number of the ticket holder

Kenya Railways promised Kenyans an online platform by 12th June 2017 that would allow them to buy and book their tickets online.

Well, 12th June came and went, and there was still no online booking platform.

There was a website available, but it wasn’t an official Kenya Railways (KR) website. The developers were an independent company with a trial version that hopefully the team at KR would adopt.

Some Kenyans took advantage of the disorganized process and started offering a unique service where they buy and book the ticket for you and deliver it to your doorstep. The idea is great, but these services aren’t regulated and this where it becomes a travesty. The brokers buy tickets early and in bulk which inadvertently creates a shortage then re-sell the tickets at very inflated prices.

Others sympathised with KR, saying that SGR was still new and Kenyans should be patient.

But guys it was a Ksh. 327 billion shilling project! With that kind of money, the system should’ve been seamless from day one.

If you cannot afford to buy the ticket from them, then you have to be up really early and get to the train station to buy a ticket.

Kenya Railways assured Kenyans that from next Wednesday, the tickets will bear the name and ID of the ticket holder in order to knock out the middlemen who re-sell the tickets at inflated prices.

The problems SGR are having could be due to the fact that the launch was premature. Going by their tweets, they were set to be operational in January 2018.

Whatever the case might be, they need to get their act together and come up with an online ticketing platform because they’re giving Kenyans a raw deal.

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Lena is a contributor at HapaKenya. She is sensitive, a little scatterbrained and loves to read. Feminism saved her life. She writes sappy poetry sometimes. She was a contributor at potentash.com. She made the longlist for the Farafina Trust workshop in 2016 and the shortlist for Jalada Fest Nairobi Masterclass in 2017. Email: lena@hapakenya.com

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