Kenya’s SGR yet to have effect on small towns
KENYA’S CELEBRATED standard gauge railway has been celebrated as a flagship project and and a pillar of the country’s economic development.
However, one year after completion, there are signs that it will negatively affect towns along the railway and kill the growth supported by the road transport and its ripple effect.
The development of satellite towns along the busy Nairobi-mombasa Highway such Mariakani and Emali have now been diminished even with the presence of modern train stations.
The business stemming from the road transport like hotels, accommodation and hawking, once the mainstay of these towns, are not connected and to the services offered by the train stations.
The night travel, a feature of the highway, will be affected too and so too will the 24-hour economy that was growing as a result of night travel by busses and transporters. Travellers are now opting for the day rail transport and this has reduced the frequency of bus transport.
In the same vein, the bus operators and drivers will reduce their operations to normal scheduling hence a loss of jobs. This is contrary to the government’s agenda of millions of jobs creation accruing from the railway development.
For the rail transport to be effective and serve the country and the region, it should be restricted to cargo. Let the other business people like those in the transport industry create jobs and boost the economy.
A good investment boosts and complements what already exists and creates others, something I wish the standard gauge railway would do. Christopher Okinda Via e-mail