Travelers using the Madaraka Express will now be able to book and pay for tickets on the Madaraka Express through their mobile phones. This follows the introduction of an SMS based payment platform utilizing USSD code *639#. The code will enable passengers to book, pay and even cancel tickets for the Madaraka Express.
In order to buy a ticket, one will be required to dial code and follow a series of prompts that will enable them buy tickets to their intended destination from the comfort of their locations. The SMS based USSD code will also enable passengers to immediately make payments via MPESA to secure their tickets.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Atanas Maina says the new platform enables passengers to make up to a maximum of 5 bookings in one transaction and allows customers to purchase tickets up to 7 days in advance.
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 self service machines at the station upon arrival and produce their National ID cards while checking in to verify that they made the purchase.
Those utilizing the platform are advised to load their MPESA accounts with adequate funds before dialling the USSD code to enable them make direct purchases by following the SMS prompts provided.
The development of an online booking portal which will allow online payment service providers to connect to the booking system is at trial stage and will be launched in the coming weeks. Tickets can also be purchased by calling Customer Care on 0709388888 and over the counter at the SGR stations in Mombasa, Voi, Mtito Andei and Nairobi.