Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Honourable Minister for Transportation

Travellers disapprove Lagos-Ibadan train fares, seek reduction in charges

*Nigerians say the new fares regime for Lagos-Ibadan train services is a huge disappointment to a lot of consumers

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

As the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge rail line begins operations Monday, December 7, 2020, scores of Nigerians have expressed their disapproval for the fares the Federal Government has announced for rail transport along the corridor.

Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Honourable Minister for Transportation, Friday, December 4 had disclosed that tickets for the route would be N3,000 for Economy Class, N5,000 for Business Class, and N6,000 for First Class respectively.

Shortly after the Minister’s announcement, however, reports indicate that the Social Media platforms, especially Twitter, have been abuzz with reactions with scores of consumers condemning the Federal Government for what many called the “inordinately high fares” for rail transport.

Amaechi had said that the Federal Government would apply the same template like the one used on the Abuja to Kaduna route, which has been in operation since June 2017, to justify the fares.

Nonetheless, Nigerians urged the Federal Government to reconsider the fares.

They noted that the Abuja-Kaduna route is longer than the Lagos-Ibadan, and that the former is used mostly by politicians and captains of industries.

It was equally argued that Lagos to Ibadan rail line is going to be used mostly by the masses, majority of whom cannot afford the fares.

The standard fare for the Lagos-Ibadan, and vice-versa by road is N1,000, which is far cheaper than the Economy Class fare of the rail line, Nigerian consumers argued.

The Nation report quoted a Twitter user with the handle @Dekunle, who said the train is better if it offers more than the common rail service to enable the government get good patronage.

Ikechukwu, with the twitter handle @iykimo, asked a rhetorical question: “Isn’t rail transport the cheapest anymore? Lagos to Ibadan is N3k, N6k for executive suite.”

AkureCityHunter, another Twitter user, with the handle @AkureCityHunter, also wrote: “I will pay N3k from Lagos to Ibadan and I’d still be in the economy? Well, that economy better have a PS5, free Netflix and some KFC delicacies.”

Also, Real HusbandMaterial, with the handle @AdorableProduct, did a comparison of the Lagos-Ibadan by road from Berger to Ibadan.

According to him, the journey costs between N2,000 and N2,500 for a car carrying three passengers, while park and pick (popularly called soo’le) is N1,000; a 14-seater passenger bus is N1,500, while an 18-seater bus collects between N700 and N1000.

Using @Naija_PR, another Nigerian said: “How can rail transport cost N3,000 from Lagos to Ibadan? Who are the people advising these ogas?

“Your closest competitor is road transport. Why can’t they cut this price by half? Half the price and you are in business.”

Proposing a masses-friendly train price regime, Bhadoosky, writing with the handle @Bhadmus Akeem, noted that a much more friendly regime would be N900 for Economy, N1,800 for Business Class and N2,400 for First Class.

“Anything short of this, it is you and the political class that will be boarding the train,” he tweeted.

Chief Ola Agbebayo, an Abeokuta-based business executive, also added his voice to reactions to the new fares regime along the route, as he said the new fares are a huge disappointment to a lot of Nigerians.

Agbebayo wondered why the government took the charges away from the masses who the train project is meant to serve.

The chieftaincy title holder stated: “All over the world, the train is the cheapest form of transportation and everyone who has travelled outside the country would attest to this fact.

“It is a means of last resort for many, whether resident or migrant. Same should be replicated here.

“The government has no reason to raise the fare above the reach of the average Nigerians, since it was constructed with borrowed funds which they are still going to repay.”

A civil servant in Lagos State, speaking in confidence, said that with the fares, the government has shown its preference for the particular passengers it would like to convey on the route.

He stated: “If you factor in the fact that Ibadan is merely a transit town from which many would still connect their various communities, then the transportation cost element of their journey is better left imagined as it could only lead to avoidable spikes.”

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