Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) commuter trains have ferried more than two million passengers between Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa since its launch in May last year, the operator confirmed on Wednesday.
Li Jianfeng, deputy general manager of SGR passenger train operator, Africa Star Railway Operation Company Limited, said it has resonated with local and foreign travelers thanks to improved safety, convenience and customer service.
"By Oct. 28, 2,013,000 passengers enjoyed passenger train service since launching. We have also achieved a seating occupancy at 97.2 percent (including inter-county seats reuse)," said Li.
He revealed this to senior Kenyan policymakers, lawmakers, scholars from leading think tanks and media practitioners during a tour of the Nairobi SGR terminus on Tuesday to learn about operations of both the commuter and cargo services.
Li said the SGR freight service has ferried about 2,605,000 tonnes of bulk cargo since its launch, hence easing congestion at the port of Mombasa.
The SGR commuter train dubbed Madaraka Express has revolutionized travel while stimulating commerce along the 480 kilometers railway built by a Chinese company.
Li said the operator of this modern train service has focused on rebranding and paid attention to improved management, communication, social responsibility and timely response to customer's needs.
"The company has been improving operation concept, management and working methods. We aim at win-win in terms of both economic perspective and social benefits," said Li.
He revealed the SGR commuter train operator has also set up an online platform and customer service center to enhance interaction with passengers.
"Questionnaires and passenger survey returns are carried out at intervals to continuously improve service skills and quality," said Li.
"Service phones and customer service center are available to assist passengers and handle complaints upon request. Designated staff are available for disabled passengers," he added.
Li said that Kenyan staff continue to benefit from advanced training on railway operations in China.
Kenyan lawmakers expressed confidence in the operations of both the SGR commuter and freight transport services terming them a game changer in the quest for socio-economic transformation in the country.
Shakeel Shabbir, Member of Parliament for Kisumu East in western Kenya, said the modern trains were contributing significantly to the country's development.
"We have great faith in the SGR passenger and cargo services that have contributed to rebuilding of our economy and passing of skills to local youth," Shabbir said.