Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Thursday said federal government had fixed the cost of travelling on the newly completed Abuja to Kaduna rail lines at N500 per passenger per trip on the economy class.
Answering journalists questions after the final inspection of the project which is due for inauguration by President Muhammadu Buhari next week in Abuja, he said the test run exercise has been on for more than a month with passengers being moved from Kaduna to Abuja free of charge.
He said: “From the experience that we have all seen today, we are set to go. This test run exercise has been on for over a month. We said it was going to run for two weeks but we allowed it for six weeks so that everybody can use it.”
According to him, from next Tuesday after the inaguration by the president, government will then begin to charge N500 per passenger per trip on the economy class.
On why fare is pegged at that amount, he said: “As you can see, we sought the opinion of the passenger before fixing the fare, they suggested N500 on economy and I will do just that.”
He added: “The reasons we did not inaugurate it earlier is because we wanted the train to run for at least a month and check if there will be any problem but we have done that for over a month and there was no problem.”
The minister however said the fencing of the railway lines from Abuja to Kaduna, will commence when the money is sourced, adding that the contract has been awarded. “We are looking for money but we will soon get money within the next three months then the fencing would start.
“We are expecting new locomotives and when it comes, we will then make arrangement in 2017 budget to buy more coaches so that we can have one of the trains stopping in all the stations and the other doing Kaduna to Abuja.”
In his remark, the acting Managing Director of Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr. Fidet Okhiria, said railway is the mother of all transportation because it moves a lot of people conveniently and safely, adding that the opening of the Kaduna Abuja rail line will take a lot of pressure off the roads.
He said: “Our roads will now last longer and accidents will also reduce,” he said.