Govt To Install Free WiFi In SGR Stations

KRC further noted that the free WiFi would be installed at all SGR termini, including Nairobi, Mtito Andei, Mombasa, Voi, Athi River, Emali, Mariakani, Miasenyi, and Kibwezi.

Govt To Install Free WiFi In SGR Stations
An SGR train at a train station in Kenya. /FILE

The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) is set to install free public Wireless Fidelity connections, alias Wi-Fi across various Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) termini, among plans to upgrade essential SGR services.

KRC on Tuesday, February 13 announced a tender inviting eligible firms to procure the tenders for the provision of the rollout of SGR public Wifi and fibre connectivity for SGR Terminus and the supply and delivery of Gabion wires for Mombasa-Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.

SGR has been one of the country's most popular means of transport and WiFi has become a necessity for Kenyans in public transport places such as commuter stations and airports for those who may use the internet for work as they go, check for service updates, or stay entertained as they wait to travel.

KRC further noted that the free WiFi would be installed at all SGR termini, including Nairobi, Mtito Andei, Mombasa, Voi, Athi River, Emali, Mariakani, Miasenyi, and Kibwezi.

A photo of the SGR Nairobi terminus. /KENYA RAILWAYS

The planned installation comes amidst a growth in the number of passengers who used SGR to 2.52 million in the financial year ended June 2023, up from 2.35 million in the previous year and nearly double the 1.39 million during the service’s inaugural year.

The increase in passenger numbers helped grow the SGR’s overall revenue by 21.2 per cent in the financial year to June 2023, mainly driven by higher cargo haulage and passenger traffic. Data from KRC indicates that SGR made a record Ksh18.2 billion in revenues during the period, marking a significant increase from the Ksh15.01 billion it earned in the previous year.

The performance for the year to June 2023 marked the fifth successive annual increase in SGR revenue since the train service was launched by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017. 

The SGR is also one of Kenya's most expensive infrastructure projects, hitting over Ksh800 billion for the construction of three phases: the Mombasa-Nairobi phase (Ksh327 billion), the extension to Naivasha (Ksh150 billion) and the final phase (Ksh380 billion).

Earnings from SGR make up 82 per cent of KRC's revenue, with the increase helping push up its total revenues by 25.6 per cent to Ksh22.24 billion.

The revenues are expected to rise significantly going forward after passenger fares were raised by 50 per cent in January 2024. Kenya Railways, in hiking the SGR charges in November 2023 ahead of the January 2024 review period, explained that "This increase is informed by changes in the energy and petroleum sector where prices of fuel have significantly increased thus affecting the cost of our operations."

Currently, Kenyans pay Ksh4,500 per SGR ticket, up from an average of Ksh3,000 for a full trip from Nairobi to Mombasa one-way in the first-class category and Ksh1,500, up from Ksh1,000 in economy on the same trip, also one-way.

Other SGR Services Eyed For Upgrade

Besides WiFi, other services include the supply and delivery of consumables and spare parts for SGR Information Systems, supply and delivery of hardcore (specialised concrete) for Mombasa-Nairobi-Naivasha Standard Gauge Railway and upgrading of SGR Athi River freight terminal road from gravel to rigid pavement.

Aside from the SGR, Kenya Railways also invited eligible firms to upgrade other key services, including providing security surveillance systems and screening equipment at Kisumu and Nakuru Passenger Stations and Changamwe Marshalling Yard.

Further, the Corporation seeks to procure new office equipment for SGR offices, the Railways Training Institute and the Headquarters. The tenders will be closed during the first and second week of March next month.

"Candidates are encouraged to peruse the Tender Document from the KR Website: www.krc.co.ke, and PPIP Website: www.tender.go.ke or from the office of the General Manager- SCM, Kenya Railways Headquarters Block B, Ground floor, Nairobi before purchase," read part of the notice.

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen receiving new SGR wagons on February 5, 2024. /KIPCHUMBA MURKOMEN

"Bidders who download the Tender Document must register their interest immediately by emailing [email protected] stating their names, email, postal and telephone address and tender details."

Kenya Railways noted that the completed tender documents (accompanied by a tender security in the amount and form specified in the tender document) must be in sealed envelopes and marked “Tender No. and the Description of the Tender."

The applications should be deposited in the tender box at the Reception Area, Ground Floor, Kenya Railways Headquarters, Block C on or before the first week of March.