In what will be seen as a major blow to bus operators, Kenya Railways has introduced a new night service on the SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa.
The new night train will be an intercounty service not an express one.
Two trains will be leaving the Nairobi and Mombasa termini at 9pm and stopping at all seven intermediate stations along the route.
The decision was arrived at to facilitate school re-opening which sees an increased demand for transport services along the route. Kenya Railways did not however specify whether this will be a permanent schedule.
Buses have had a monopoly on this time slot, with the train greatly affecting their day time business. It remains to be seen whether this introduction will eat into their bottom-line in a significant way, owing to the fact that passengers tend to opt for the train whenever available.
This train will arrive at its destination 6 hours later at 3am. That is one hour before the night time curfew expires, which may lead to some interesting occurrences at the termini.
While passengers can simply wait out the hour, Ubers, matatus and other transport providers at the stations may not be available immediately. It will also be interesting at the intermediate stations, where arrival times fall squarely during curfew hours.