Madaraka Express introduces SMS based payment platform

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Madaraka Express has introduced an SMS based payment platform utilizing USSD code *639# for passengers to book and pay for tickets through their mobile phones.

The code will enable passengers to reserved seat, 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 M-PESA to secure their tickets.

Atanas Maina, Kenya Railways Managing Director says the new platform enables passengers to make up to a maximum of five bookings in one transaction and allows customers to purchase tickets up to seven days in advance.

Once the booking is done passengers will receive a confirmation via 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.

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.

How to buy tickets on Madaraka Express with your mobile phone:

Dial USSD Code *639# on your mobile device

  1. Select booking option
  2. Select departing station
  3. Select destination station
  4. Select travel date
  5. Select the class of preference. The train offers First class and Economy class
  6. Enter the number of passengers. This mode allows one to book up to a maximum of 5 passengers in one transaction
  7. Indicate the number of children if any. Children under three years do not pay any fee; those between three (3) and eleven (11) years pay half the ticket fee; an those above eleven (11) years pay the full amount
  8. Enter passenger details. This requires one to enter the Full names; National Identity card or Passport numbers. For children indicate ‘Child’.
  9. Select payment option. At this point, the customer will receive the prompts
  • Pay now
  • Pay Later
  • Exit

When making payment, enter the amount specified to you and enter M-pesa PIN. You will receive a payment confirmation message. This will be followed by a booking confirmation message which will confirm the status of the transaction by showcasing the destination station, departure time, date of travel, selected class of travel, the coach number and seat number.

On the date of travel, the customer should print the ticket at the self service machines at the station or obtain the ticket from the dedicated counter for M-pesa transactions. The ticket may also be collected any other time before the date of travel if the customer so wishes.

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.

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