• The daily take-home income for each motorcycle rider has risen from Sh800 to at least Sh1,500.
• Hoteliers, who depended on long-distance truck drivers, have taken a beating as the SGR trains ferry most of the transit goods.
To boda boda operator Benson Mwetu, the SGR is the best thing that ever happened in his line of business.
The SGR passenger train stations at Emali and Mtito Andei in Makueni county have brought fortunes to motorcycle taxi riders like Mwetu.
Their daily take-home incomes have multiplied many times since the SGR train services were launched in June 2017.
The riders ferry travellers boarding and disembarking from trains headed to either Mombasa or Nairobi.
Mwetu is based at Mtito Andei. “On average, we used to take home between Sh800 and Sh1,000 every day before the SGR train service. Currently, the least we take home on a daily basis is Sh1,500,” the motorcycle taxi operator said on Tuesday.
Mwetu, who belongs to Ya Tsavo boda boda group, is optimistic that the government will increase the number of trains on the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR route. This, he says, will substantially increase the incomes of the boda boda fraternity.
Mwetu said the SGR station at Mtito Andei also provides employment to many other people. “Some of the previously unemployed community members have landed casual jobs and are earning incomes.”
Saluma Fred runs an eatery at Emali town. Here, both travellers and residents enjoy the comfort and conveniences of a train station.
Saluma's goods and services are relatively cheaper than in other public transport facilities.
The township's business community chairman, Reuben Munyao, affirmed that the SGR had brought with it increased business for the boda boda operators.
However, many other businesses had taken a beating since the SGR services started, according to Munyao. His sentiments were also backed by Emali KNCCI chairman Julius Kasuni.
Most hotels, guest houses and bars had either closed or were struggling.
“Most of our business depended on long-distance truck drivers who stopped over for food, drinks and rest. That group of customers has become scarce since SGR is now transporting the bulk of transit goods between Nairobi and Mombasa,” Munyao said.
Edited by R.Wamochie