Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
The Minister for Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has launched the e-ticketing platform of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), with assurances that government is determined to ensure Nigerians get the best travel experience on all its train service network.
Amaechi said the e-ticketing platform procured at about N900 million, is another milestone for the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the government.
He said: “This project which is a Public-Private Partnership is a product of over three years of rigorous procurement process and due diligence involving the NRC, NITDA and finally obtaining approval from the Federal Executive Council.
“Today marks the beginning of the automation of ticket sales in all our major stations on the Abuja Kaduna train service. This is a total package that also includes access control which will be deployed subsequently.
“It is my believe that deploying the secured ticketing solution is in line with world best practice, and will enhance efficiency, save time and promote accountability while also reducing leakages and promoting economic growth. It is most suitable especially at this period of COVID-19 as it reduces physical interactions at the stations as passengers can buy their tickets at the comfort of their homes and offices through their phones.”
He thanked the concessionaire, SecuredID Limited, for believing in the project adding that the various initiatives which would be introduced by the concessionaire is aimed at making the entire rail network more passengers friendly.
He said the government and the concessionaire entered into a 10-year agreement during which the vendor would have recoup his investment, which he put at about N900 million, after which the platform would be reverted to the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi also disclosed that he has directed the NRC Managing Director to commence the process of the Chinese loan repayment from the savings of the corporation.
SecureID Director, Mrs. Joke Akinkugbe thanked the Federal Government for partnering with the firm to develop the e-ticketing platform. She said the platform, which is called Transport Payment Solution (TPS), has sent a “strong signal of the nation’s entry into the global transportation e-ticketing solution as Nigeria is the first nation with such across the African continent.
She said in addition to the paper ticket, which is available in all the train stations, Nigerians can now to obtain digital tickets, by downloading the Nigerian Railway Corporation e-ticketing App from their Android Playstore or iPhone mobile app, or by using the Point of Sales (PoS) terminal at the various train stations where the platform would be deployed.
Akinkugbe, who disclosed that over 25,000 tickets were sold during the two weeks trial run of the e-tickets across all the online platforms, added that the platform removes the concerns for physical interactions, reduces physical transactions, and cash exchange, thereby blocking leakages and promotes accountability and transparency in the ticketing transactions.
“We are determined to make ticketing seamless, simple, very convenient, scalable and measurable,” she added.
NRC Managing Director, Mr. Fidet Okhiria in his closing remarks said signals coming from both home and abroad are showing that e-ticketing is going to be a major boost to the image and activities of the corporation.
He said the service which would be launched on the Abuja-Kaduna service would thereafter be deployed to the Itakpe-Warri as well as the Lagos-Ibadan lines in due course.
He assured that NRC will soon increase its fleet on the Abuja-Kaduna line, where it intends to begin 14 return trips, urging the concessionaire to ensure that the platform is prepared for the challenge.