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Travellers to get SGR tickets refund in distancing directive

By Irene Githinji
Friday, March 27th, 2020
The Madaraka Express during a stop-over at the Mtito Andei station. Photo/PD/John Ochieng
In summary
    • Africa Star Railway Operation Company has issued measures to be observed to stop the spread of the disease.
    • It says each train is equipped with a separate isolation coach designated for passengers with high fever.

Irene Githinji @gitshee

Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) tickets purchased during the pre-sale period will now be refunded to travellers, in compliance with government’s directive that no more than 60 per cent of seats should be filled to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

Africa Star Railway Operation Company has issued measures to be observed to stop the spread of the disease, saying just like other modes of transport, coronavirus has disrupted railway travel plans for passengers.

“To comply with government’s SGR requirement that no more than 60 per cent of seats be filled, the operator will refund tickets bought during the pre-sale period,” said the operator in a statement Wednesday.

Safeguard staff

The number of passengers using SGR during this period has gone down, with statistics between January 1 and March 20 indicating that 303,063 passengers travelled on the Madaraka Express, which is 8,644 passengers less than 311,707 transported during the same period last year.

As part of combating spread of the virus, the Africa Star operator said each train is equipped with a separate isolation coach designated for passengers with high fever and stations have a quarantine area where those presenting high fever are placed.

To safeguard its staff, the operator issued a directive in January instructing all staff not to travel abroad, while those who had travelled prior to the outbreak were not allowed to travel back to Kenya.

In case a staff member who had travelled abroad was required to physically report to work, the company has enforced the 14-day quarantine period, complete with isolation areas.

Provide update

 Expatriate staff in Kenya are not allowed to travel out of the country, with the service provider ensuring regular inspections are conducted.

To ensure staff are well and do not pose a risk to their colleagues and passengers, all employees are required to provide a daily update of their overall health.

The operator is also conducting temperature checks at stations that attract high volumes of passengers and has embarked on deep cleaning and decontamination of trains upon the disembarking of passengers.

“The service provider has developed emergency response plans and has been conducting drills geared towards employee preparedness to combat Corona,” said the operator.

And as part of the operator’s sensitisation measures on the pandemic, passenger and station attendants are to periodically announce the pandemic’s prevention measures both onboard the trains and at stations, through public address systems.