East Africa Railway Operator Seeks Private Parking Operator


East Africa Railway Operator Seeks Private Parking Operator

Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC), one of East Africa’s largest railway operators, is implementing two key projects that have the installation of modern parking management systems as a key component, as the State-owned company seeks to leverage on own assets to increase its revenue streams.

The Nairobi-based KRC, owned by the government of Kenya, has recently completed and commissioned a 427-km standard gauge railway (SGR) line linking the coastal city of Mombasa to the country’s capital, Nairobi. 

The $3.8 billion new line, constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation, a subsidiary of Fortune Global 500 company China Communications Construction Company, has 33 railway stations. KRC is seeking to install a parking management system in nine of these stations.

Separately in Nairobi, KRC is implementing the phased Nairobi Commuter Rail Service (NCRS) project as part of the Nairobi Metropolitan Transport Master Plan that is partly financed by the World Bank. 

The parking system will allow for both coins and Notes payments in Kenyan currency.

The project involves “modernization and expansion of underutilized railway transport infrastructure facilities within Nairobi in order to attract passenger traffic from the roads, thus reduce congestion and create an efficient and affordable mass rapid transit transport system for the city.” 

With this project, KRC hopes to integrate rail transport with other modes of transport within Nairobi and includes the installation of a parking system in 14 railway stations within the city and outlying small towns.

KRC has already advertised a tender for a private contractor to install and operate a parking management system on nine passenger stations along the SGR line, which runs parallel to the 1060km meter Kenya-Uganda railway that is now 105 years old. The new railway stations on the SGR line have a total of 1,400 vehicle parking spaces/slots including 600 and 750 slots for Mombasa and Nairobi termini, respectively, and an additional 55 slots for Emali, Miasenyi, Mtito Andei, Voi, Kibwezi and Mariakani railway stations.

The highest number of customers who will use the parking spaces is expected to be those who will park their vehicles and board trains to various destinations. KRC’s plan is to have “parking services in all SGR passenger stations,” according to a project brief by one of KRC managers Lucy Njoroge.

The private parking operator is expected to be picked before the end of the year (2018). The preferred bidder will install and operate the parking management system and provide requisite system services such as automated access control, multichannel payment, foot pay stations, parking management software, automated ticketing and security surveillance. 

“The parking system should adopt precise machining cold-rolled plate, conformed to at least IP54 dustproof and waterproof and be of luxury design to confirm to the aesthetics and class of the building and location,” said Njoroge.

At the SGR railway stations, the private parking operator would mark parking spaces/slots and designate entry and exit points. The parking spaces should be designated either for short term or long-term parking categories with different parking charges.

The entry and exit points at the parking will be unmanned according to KRC to “reduce labor costs”, and instead technology will be deployed to manage the entry and exist barriers for the control of vehicles.

When the new parking management system is up and running, parking customers classified under the hourly category will get their entry tickets from the Entry Station themselves. When leaving the parking lot, they will insert the ticket into the Exit Station to open the exit barrier. 

Registered parking customers “will enter and leave by self-service swiping their cards on Entry and Exit stations respectively.” They would also have access and leave the railway station parking area without stopping if the tag on their vehicle’s windshield is read by long range radio frequency identification (RFID) reader. according to Njoroge.

“When leaving, the hourly customers will use the self-service kiosks located in the building where they can insert a  ticket, and the machine calculates the amount automatically,” explained Njoroge.

“The customers can then insert coins or Notes in the machine and have the ticket amount paid and the machine will return the ticket to the parker who then can drive to the exit and insert the ticket into the unmanned Exit Station and the Exit Barrier will open,” she explained. 

The parking system will allow for both coins and Notes payments in Kenyan currency. Alternatively, parking customers will be able to buy tickets and pay for parking services with either cash or cashless models such as money transfer service, credit and debit cards.

KRC will remotely monitor ticket sales with the company’s (Enterprise Resource Planning) ERP system integrated with the contractor’s financial data as part of the mandatory features of the parking system. While all cash payments will be deposited to KRC’s designated bank accounts within 24 hours, all electronic payments have to be received at KRC’s bank account on real time basis according to Ms Njoroge.

The private parking operator, who will be collecting the parking charges on behalf of KRC, is to be paid the agreed fees, not exceeding 35 percent of the total collection, on a monthly basis.

Separately, KRC is implementing the Nairobi Commuter Rail Service (NCRS) project that entails modernization of 100km of track within the City of Nairobi and introduction of modern rolling stock as KRC looks forward to serving 1.5 million passengers daily.

Under the NCRS, KRC is constructing 26 new modern passenger handling stations at the existing railway ones and at new locations.

KRC is now seeking for a private parking operator to install and operate an integrated parking management system at 13 rail commuter stations in Nairobi and also at Kenrail Towers in Nairobi’s Westlands area. Procurement of the private parking operator is ongoing. The successful bidder is expected to provide a parking management system and also collect revenue on behalf of KRC for 10 years.

The NCR project is similar to the SGR one where the preferred bidder would be expected to develop a parking layout at each of the 13 stations, supply, install and commission all required parking equipment and manage the parking system for at least 10 years from the time the contract will be awarded.

The new parking plan by KRC is expected to improve the flow of traffic especially in Mombasa and Nairobi in addition to earning the company additional revenue for its railway operations. 

Shem Oirere is Parking Today’s on the ground reporter in Africa. He can be reached at shem@shemoirere.com.

Article contributed by:
Shem Oirere
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