When we first published the article on how to book SGR online it was purely based on research and not first-hand experience. Today, I am writing this article having had that first experience of booking SGR online and taking you through the SGR ticketing in relation to customer experience and user design.
My friends and I planned for a weekend getaway in Mombasa. We came together, looked for holidays’ homes on our favourite rental site Airbnb. We were spoilt with different options and you know how tricky it is for six heads, all women, to settle on a home considering taste and preferences. Let us not dwell on that for today.
So, after checking for holiday homes what followed was deciding on the means of transport from Nairobi to Mombasa. We weighed different options and we settled for SGR as it was convenient and cost friendly means of transport to us. After all, nearly all of us wanted to have a taste of SGR. Get that hyped SGR Feel.
If you know me, you know I am that kind of a person who embraces technology and loves efficient methods. With that being said, I was privileged to be the one to book SGR online for the whole group. So, what is the process?
SGR Online Booking Process
First, I had to visit SGR official website that is Kenya Railways Madaraka Express. Looking at it is a user experience design of this site, you can clearly see that the flow items are well laid out. To book SGR online, you need the train type on the first box; express or intercounty. Next, you enter your departure destination and the arrival station. After that, you will get a responsive vertical calendar that allows you to set the travel date.
The call to action “Book Train” is visible and when you click on it you will get the results almost immediately. The loading speed was impressive. Out of curiosity, I did the desktop site test speed on PageSpeed Insights and the result was 76% per cent.
If you compare it to mobile speed then it is way too slow. The score was 10%
Since I was doing a booking of a group, I preferred desktop experience because it would be easier to enter a list of names. The button for selecting a number of people was clickable and responsive. What I love about this process, is that you can see the number of seats remaining and the exact amount that you would pay.
When you click on the green Book Train call to action, a window will be displayed that allows you to enter the full list names of the passenger, their national card and nationality. What was disappointing about this stage is that you cannot delete a field or a field of passenger and you will be forced to go back one step. And definitely, you will start afresh adding the fields again.
SGR Booking Payment Options
After entering the passenger details you need to provide M-Pesa mobile number, your email address and then accept the SGR terms and conditions. At the time I was booking this SGR online the payment option available was M-Pesa. You can opt to pay immediately or pay later.
For us, we did pay immediately via M-Pesa. You will receive a confirmation message on your mobile phone where you will then confirm the details on the website.
The booking summary is also displayed on the website, besides receiving the sitting positions on the train via SMS.
The Ticketing Process
The big day arrived and we all made it on time to be at the Syokimau terminus. At the terminus, you will undergo various security checks so be prepared. Now, for the ticketing process, you might think of long queues looking at the queues at the security checks at the entrance. But hey, to our surprise there were no queues.
At the terminus, there are ticketing systems that allow you to enter mobile number used to book the SGR tickets and the Booking No sent on your phone via SMS. With these two details, you can print your ticket immediately ready to board the train. This is how the boarding pass looks like.
We boarded the train and it left at exactly 8: 20 am. We arrived at exactly 2:18 pm indicated on the website. The process was the same again as we came back from Mombasa SGR terminus to Nairobi.
The SGR online booking and the ticketing system user experience is good, accessible and fast. One major concern that I had with this service is that you cannot cancel your ticket online. You need to visit its main office to cancel them before the train leaves the station. If you can book a train online why not cancel it online too?
From all these experiences we can learn that your website user design should be:
- It should be user-friendly
- The call to actions buttons should be well placed and clickable
- The content of your webpage should give clear direction on where users should scroll to.
- Use one colour for the call to actions (CTA) buttons.
- Users perception of website speed is on loading time, loading behaviour and waiting times.
- The navigation menus and dropdowns menus should be vertical, not horizontal. It is easier to navigate vertical menus rather than horizontal menus
- The colour of your website should match that of your brand
Feel free to share your experience in the comment section below