Kenya Railways registers Ksh.24 billion loss for two consecutive years

Inside Kenya Railways plan to roll out Mombasa, Kisumu train service this December

The Consolidated National Government Investment Report covering the 2020/21 financial year, shows that the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) posted Ksh.24 billion losses for two consecutive years.

This proves how the state-run body is struggling to balance its books despite the launch of Madaraka Express that has seen majority of Kenyans drop long-distance buses due to time convenience.

Kenya Railways has attributed the losses to its Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) operations where its revenue has continued to trail operating costs since launch.

The SGR service ferried 1,249,401 passengers earning Ksh.1.367 billion in the period under review according to provisional data from the State Corporation.

At the same time, the SGR service earned Ksh.13.97 billion from moving 5.2 million tons of cargo between July 2020 and June of 2021.

SGR passenger service was affected at the height of coronavirus pandemic last year in May and June due to the imposition of an inter-county movement freeze to contain the spread of the pandemic.

It was later on allowed to resume operations during the 10 pm and 4 am curfew times.

So far, SGR passenger service from Nairobi to Mombasa is fully booked ahead of Christmas in a move set to force holidaymakers to seek expensive alternatives like road and air travel.

The bookings register shows that the trains are fully booked between December 23 and 24 with the few seats available on December 25 set to be snapped up in the coming days.

“The trains are fully booked up to December 24. We have seen a change in trend where passengers are booking for their tickets earlier” said the corporation in a statement.

For instance, on December 22, the SGR train has a few seats available, mainly in the economy coaches as the first-class section is fully booked.

Fares on the economy class section are Ksh.1,000 with first-class tickets going for Ksh.3,000.

Children below three years are not charged any fee to take a ride on the train while those from 3-11 years pay half the price adults pay on the economy and first-class tickets.

However, the traffic on bookings eases from December 26 with availability on economy class and a few seats on first class.

Besides, KRC, other government bodies have not performed well fiancnially, another one being the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) that has posted post a Ksh.7.1 billion net loss.

Aggregated, State Corporations posted contracted net losses of Ksh.12.6 billion from Ksh.38.1 billion in the prior 2019/20 year.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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