• FG hikes train fare
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow commission 10 new coaches and two locomotives for Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line as well as an inland dry port in Kaduna.
This is coming as the federal government has disclosed plans to increase rail transport fare for Abuja-Kaduna route from its current N1,500 for executive class and N1,050 for standard class.
The new fares are yet to be disclosed.
Making this disclosure to journalists after meeting the president in the State House, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said the increase of locomotives from two to 14 would stop racketeering which had led to the sack of the station managers, porters, and ticket officials at Idu and Rigasa rail stations in August, 2017.
The first two modern locomotives for the route were purchased at N1.1 billion by the previous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Amaechi who said he discussed the planned inauguration with the president, disclosed that the president was happy with the development, moreso that it will ease pressure from passengers and aid comfort.
According to him, one of the locomotives will be dedicated to direct movement non-stop from Kaduna-Abuja to aid the early arrival of passengers who live in Kaduna and work in Abuja.
“The president is pleased with the arrangement because basically we will then be able to discharge the passengers pressure that we have had, that is why you have ticket racketeering. When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheats the passengers.
“There are two things I know the president likes, I have mentioned one, the second one, is after inauguration even the passengers agreed that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap. So there will be a need to increase the price of the cost and then there will be more comfort. More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiplied by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself.
“I’m not an expert in that area but one thing I know is that one of the locomotives will be dedicated to direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop, that should be doing 1:15 or 1:20 minutes non-stop. That will enable those living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6am by 7:15, 7:20 you should be in Abuja,” he stated.