SGR makes U-turn on controversial notice banning contraband on trains after public outrage

SGR makes changes to notice banning foods and alcoholic drinks that angered the public

File image of passengers boarding a train

The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has made a hasty retreat on a controversial notice banning commuters on the Standard Gauge Railway from carrying cooked food into the stations and trains.

In a public notice released on Saturday, October 5, 2019, KRC revealed that the parts of the controversial notice had been suspended.

According to the latest notice, commuters with special needs as well as children under three years will be allowed to carry food at the various termini and into the SGR trains as usual.

However, adults will still not be allowed to carry food or any alcoholic drinks while travelling using the SGR.

The statement read in part that “Kenya Railways recently issued a public notice prohibiting food stuff and beverages into the SGR termini and stations. We do appreciate the feedback from the public…However, children below three (3) years and customers with special needs will be accorded special consideration”.

"We have on many occasions encountered incidences of irresponsible behaviour by some customers due to consumption of alcohol infringing on the privacy of passengers and exposing children to indecent behaviour," added the statement.

Public outrage meets controversial notice

In an earlier notice dated October 3, KRC directed passengers to purchase food and drinks from the cafeterias at their termini or onboard the trains in a move aimed at enhancing the safety and security of its customers.

The decision was met with a backlash, with Kenyans online dismissing the notice as ill-advised and inconveniencing, especially for mothers and babies.

Photos and videos allegedly taken aboard the SGR trains surfaced, showing commuters taking alcohol with reports of rowdy and unruly passengers also surfacing.

It is alleged that in some cases, some yelled at fellow passengers and ended up vomiting in the cabins, making other people on the train uncomfortable.

Some accused SGR management of colluding with unscrupulous businessmen to exploit commuters, citing the high prices meals and refreshments in the SGR trains.

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