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Kenyan bus operators oppose new high-speed railway

New railway line will not kill business for public transport operators, who fear of being rendered jobless, says president

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President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off a cargo wagon during the launch of standard gauge railway (SGR) operations at the port city of Mombasa on May 30,2017

No sooner had the dust settled after Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from the coastal town of Mombasa to the capital Nairobi became officially operational than thousands of Kenyans went to social media to complain that the high-speed railway will rob them of their jobs.

The excitement surrounding the new high-speed railway was dampened by the cries of many Kenyans.

Especially, bus operators and truck drivers who argued that the new modern railway line which has replaced colonial built “lunatic line” will render thousands jobless instead of creating job opportunities.

On Sunday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta assured the country’s citizens that the railway line will not kill any businesses for anyone.

"The start of the operations of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will not kill business for public transport operators in the country, [the] SGR will instead create more opportunities for matatu (buses) operators," Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure to put up bus terminuses at every SGR station to facilitate ease transportation of passengers.

Transport experts in Kenya have warned bus operators and truck drivers to prepare for turbulent times ahead as the 472-kilometer (293 miles) railway line will indeed affect their jobs.

According to the Kenyan government, the new trains have reduced the travel time for passengers by more than 8 hours and freight by a couple of days.

Mugiejor A

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