President Muhammadu Buhari authorized a 100% increase in fares on the Abuja-Kaduna train service from N1,500 to N3,000 for the economy class, N2,500 to N5,000 for the business class, and N6,000 for the VIP class.
Operations on the ever busy hall set to resume on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, after commercial services on the train route suspended on account of the Covid-19 pandemic for 4 months
During a test run of the newly delivered Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) consisting of two locomotives and eight coaches, Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s minister of transportation, informed journalists that the hike in fares was to make sure that physical distancing is maintained in addition to cover the running cost of the operations.
Based on the submission of the minister, “In a month, we get about N120million and if we run like this, we’ll realise about N60million. It then implies that, we want one other N60million to enrich the running cost. What the president did to approve the new fare was to say, as soon as you may get your operating value, it’s okay.”
He stated that lots of people are of the opinion that the fares is noting in comparison with the chance of kidnappers on the road. Reacting to questions on the affordability of the new fare especially by the low and middle income earners, the minister insisted that people using not poor and consequently can afford the fares.
Whereas admitting that, there was pressure on them to renew operations earlier than the Sallah celebrations, he disclosed that the Nigerian Railway Corporation, (NRC) is growing operations from the preliminary eight operational service on both routes before the outbreak of Covid-19 to 14 commercial operations day by day.
Offering an update on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project, Amaechi said that the project is moving at a sluggish tempo now. As a result of Covid-19 pandemic the Chinese contractors decreased the number of staff from 1000 to 10, and due to this, the massive stations usually are not yet completed.
”The two things we can do is to either run skeletal services and be running 2 services; one going and one coming. That means, they will be using the double tracks, but they won’t be using the stations”.
”If they have to use the stations, nobody should complain that they are uncompleted stations. We will only do that if there is heavy pressure on traffic, if not they may have to wait till the stations are ready.” He said.
Rotimi Amaechi recalled that the federal government had targeted May this year and they were working towards it, but unfortunately Covid-19 came, so we told them to complete the small stations.
’That is easy to complete because 10 persons can complete that station, but the biggest station in Ebutte Metta will need about 1000 workers on site and we don’t want to risk that because of spread of the virus.”