The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) has made it very efficient and economical for Kenyans and tourists to travel between Nairobi and Mombasa in half the time compared to using buses. Moreover, the fares of the Madaraka Express SGR train rarely change with the seasons, unlike buses, which hike fares, especially during Christmas and New Year holidays. You can effortlessly book your SGR train ticket online or through the USSD code and pay by M-Pesa without leaving your seat.
When you travel on the Madaraka Express SGR train, you not only enjoy the comfort it provides, but you also appreciate the breathtaking landscapes and nature of Tsavo National Park as the train crisscrosses through the countryside.
In this article, I will show you how to book your SGR train ticket and pay for the e-ticket via M-Pesa paybill.
Madaraka Express Fare
The Kenya Railways has adjusted the Madaraka Express SGR train fares effective January 2024. The current fares have been adjusted upward by 50%. For instance, you will now pay Ksh. 1,500 to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa, upward from Ksh. 1,000. Children between 3 to 11 years will pay half of this cost.
The chart below shows the new SGR fares between the various stations.
How to Book SGR Train Online
You can book your SGR ticket through the Safaricom USSD code *639# or through the e-ticketing portal. You can also buy tickets over the counter at the respective departing station or by calling the Madaraka Express train booking number 0709 388888.
The steps for booking an SGR ticket online can be summarized below:
- Visit the SGR online ticketing portal
- Select departure and destination details
- Choose class and number of persons travelling
- Enter booking information
- Confirm trip summary
- Pay for the ticket
- Receive your SGR e-ticket
Follow the steps below to book and pay for Madaraka Express online ticket:
1. Visit the SGR online ticketing portal
Kenya Railway’s online booking portal is very easy to use. All you have to do is to open your favourite web browser and enter this address “https://metickets.krc.co.ke”, without quotes. You can alternatively go to Google.com and search for “book sgr online”
2. Select departure and destination details
Once on the portal, fill in the forms at the top by selecting the train type as Express, for Madaraka Express. Also, select the station you want to board from, and then your destination station. Finally, choose your departure date and time and click on Book Train.
3. Choose the class and number of persons travelling
On the next page, the train number, the number of seats available per class and ticket fares are displayed. Your departure and arrival times are also displayed under the fares chart. You can modify your initial details by clicking on the plus (+) at the top of the page.
The next step is to choose the couch type and enter the total number of people travelling and then click Book a Train. Take note of the age of kids travelling with you, if any. Children between 3 and 11 years only pay half the ticket price while those below 3 years will board free.
4. Enter SGR online booking information
Enter personal details of persons travelling. These include full names, age, gender, nationality and identification. Names should match those on ID or passport. Also take note that each adult above 18 years must provide own ID or passport.
Next, enter your M-Pesa number, under payment details, and then click Proceed to payment.
5. Confirm trip summary
On the next page, confirm the booking details. Check that your travel date, departure and arrival, train class, arrival terminus and passenger names are okay.
Next, agree to the terms and conditions and check in the box “I’m not a robot”. You can choose to Pay Now or Pay Later by clicking on the appropriate button.
Pay for the SGR ticket
A Lipa na M-Pesa payment prompt will be sent to the M-Pesa number you provided. Confirm the amount indicated on your phone, enter your M-Pesa PIN and send to complete the payment.
If the payment fails, you will be given an alternative method of payment through the SGR Madaraka Express M-Pesa paybill number 809888. Follow through with the payment instructions and then click Confirm Payment.
Receive your SGR e-ticket
After a successful payment, your e-ticket details will be sent to you. Keep these details and remember to carry your original identification don’t the travel date.
Useful Information When Boarding Madaraka Express
- Arrive 1 hour before the departure time indicated on the ticket.
- Carry original identification documents during travel.
- Ticket cancellation and rescheduling must be done 48 hours before the travel time booked.
- Cancellations and rescheduling are done over the counter at the nearest Madaraka Express Passenger Service station. Carry your original ID and a copy.
- Tickets are not transferable.
- Only pay from your M-Pesa account. Bank transactions will not be successful.
- Alcoholic drinks are not allowed into the station and onboard the trains.
- Sprays with an inflammable sign, sharp objects and pets are strictly prohibited.
- Group bookings of over 20 passengers must be made 9 days to the travel date.
- The USSD option is available 24/7 and allows you to book up to 10 persons per transaction
- You can book up to 60 days ahead of the travel date.
- The weight of your luggage should not exceed 30kg and not measure more than 1.6 metres in height, width and length.
Conclusion on SGR Online Booking
You can easily follow the simple steps above to book your SGR train ticket online, using the USSD option or by directly calling customer care. The train fares rarely change and are not as expensive compared to buses and ‘matatus’ which ply the same routes.
It is also more comfortable to travel on SGR train and you will normally reach your destination in half the time.