S-Bahn trains are blocked as commuters avoid the agonizing Mombasa Road

Passengers aboard a commuter train that runs from Nairobi City to the Athi River.[David Gichuru,Standard]

Lilian Mbithe, 35, works as a receptionist for a real estate company in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

She lives in Kitengela in Kajiado County, one of the bedrooms of Nairobi residents. She has been driving to work herself for six years.

However, she has not used her car since the construction of the Nairobi Expressway on Mombasa Road in mid-October. Instead, she switched to the S-Bahn to avoid the annoying traffic jams that build up at 5 a.m.

The use of trains was good and bad.

“As congestion on Mombasa Road has increased because the contractor closed some lanes, most of those who went to work have parked their cars and are now using the train. This has led to an enormous demand for rail services.

“Today it is a nightmare to get a free seat. We are forced to stand up to the main train station, a distance of over 30 kilometers that takes over an hour, ”said Ms. Mbithe.

To get the train to Lukenya, the last point of the Athi river route with stops in Kitengela, Mlolongo, Embakasi, Imara Daima and Makadara, you have to leave work an hour earlier to get a seat due to the high number of passengers.

In the morning the train leaves Kitengela at 6 a.m. and arrives at 6:18 a.m. in Athi River, Mlolongo (6:39 a.m.), Embakasi (6:57 a.m.), Imara Daima (7:12 a.m.), Makadara (7:26 a.m.) and finally at Nairobi station at 7:40 a.m. Clock.

We found Wycliffe Onyiego at the train station after missing a seat on a train going to the Athi River. He said Kenya Railways should add two to three more coaches to handle the increased numbers.

“In view of the increased number of passengers, the management of Kenya Railways should add more coaches,” Onyiego appealed.

Another passenger, Mule Musimi, who has been using the train since May last year and commutes to Syokimau every evening, said the train is usually full.

“Recently in the evening at Imara Daima, I witnessed a near-stampede when passengers ran to get seats. They managed to get on the train and even stood near the doors. We were very crowded and cramped, but we arrived safely, ”said Musimi.

He said the company should also build a train station in Mlolongo where he will board the train.

“Kenya Railways should build a station there because where we get on the train is like a thicket and even people with disabilities and the elderly will find it difficult to get on,” said Onyiego, who said the train actually did helped avoid traffic jams.

Kenya Railways Corporation executive director Philip Mainga admitted that passenger numbers have increased since the Nairobi Expressway was built and said there are plans to add more coaches and increase the number of trips.

“We noticed the enormous demand and congestion on the Embakasi and Athi River routes on long trains, and even now it is difficult to get a seat in Diesel Mobile Units (DMU),” he said, adding that it is overall There will be 22 coaches per long distance train and four coaches for a DMU during the day.

He said the company plans to introduce weekend trains on busy city routes such as Embakasi and Athi River, and one operating the Nairobi and Thika routes to relieve the Jogoo Road, Mombasa Road and Thika Superhighway.

The Kenya Railway currently operates around 15 trains per day on the Embakasi and Athi River routes.

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About Sonia Martinez

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