In Summary
  • Acting managing director Alfred Matheka said it will take at least four years before the Syokimau train service starts making money for the business.

One year after its launch, the Syokimau train service is making losses that are eating into Kenya Railways Corporation‘s other revenue streams.

Rising costs and unmatched revenue needed to run the Syokimau railway station have resulted in losses of over Sh50 million per month.

Acting managing director Alfred Matheka said it will take at least four years before the Syokimau train service starts making money for the business.

“Our initial plan was to charge Sh100 for one-way as a market price for the train service but government intervened and the cost reduced to Sh50 which we don’t receive from the government as a subsidy cost,” said Mr Matheka.

The train is also operating far less than its optimum capacity, but this is expected to change after the Imara Daima, Makadara and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport railway lines are opened, he said.

When the service was launched in November last year, fares were between Sh100 and Sh120 one-way for the 18-kilometre journey that takes about 30 minutes.

The charge is now Sh30 for one-way ticket between Syokimau and the central business district down from the previous Sh50. A return ticket at peak hours will now cost you Sh100.

Makadara and Imara Daima commuter stations are expected to open doors soon. Construction of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the city centre railway line is set to start before the end of this year.

Once operational, increased passenger numbers is expected to post an uptick in the company revenues.

The corporation made Sh1.5 billion profit in the 2011/12 financial year but that dropped to Sh680 million last year owing to costs of setting up the Syokimau train station.