NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 22 – Kenya Railways has released an SMS based payment code that enables travelers to buy Madaraka express tickets through a USSD code.
By dialing *639#, passengers can now book, pay and even cancel tickets for the Madaraka Express train service between Nairobi and Mombasa, with brief stops at Mtito Andei and Voi.
The SMS payment option will also enable passengers to make payments via MPESA and will be available from Saturday 23rd September.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina says the new platform will enable passengers to buy up to 5 tickets at least a week in advance.
“We are seeking to leverage the technology offered by the new platform to counter the secondary market of tickets by middlemen who have taken advantage of the use of the stations as the main source of tickets.” Mr. Maina added, “the system will also require those making bookings to provide their names and National Identity Card Number except for minors.”
Once the booking is done passengers will receive a confirmation SMS with a special reference number indicating their destination, time and date of travel as well as the number of passengers reflected on the booking.
Passengers will then be required to print their tickets from the service booths at the station upon arrival and produce their National ID cards while checking in to verify that they made the purchase.
KR says an online payment portal is currently at the trial stage and should be launched in the coming weeks.