Low patronage as NRC activates Lagos-Ibadan train services

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Following Nigerians’ earlier complaints about the comparatively high fares many have considered unaffordable for the masses for the new Lagos─Ibadan standard gauge train services, only a passenger turned up and made the historic trip from Ibadan to Lagos, as the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) commenced operations Monday, December 7, 2020.

The NRC has stated that the newly introduced service provides fully air-conditioned train services in the Economy, Business and First Class categories.

The corporation also deployed only one Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) to begin the operation.

Earlier, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Minister for Transportation, recently had announced a price regime of N3,000 for the Economy, N5,000 for the Business and N6,000 for First Class respectively.

But Nigerians have appealed for a reduction of the fares, which cross-sections of Nigerians have considered as unaffordable for the masses.

It was learnt that the inaugural train service, which originated from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, left around 8.20 a.m. and arrived Lagos at 10.40 a.m. with less than five passengers on board.

A source on the inaugural trip told The Nation that “we had one passenger from Ibadan to Lagos, and this is not unusual. The service is just commencing. I’m sure as time goes on, the patronage will improve.

“Don’t forget again that we are approaching Christmas and New Year when patronage is expected to drastically improve.”

Jerry Oche, Railway District Manager for Lagos, stated: “The Lagos─Ibadan standard gauge train affords members of the public the opportunity to leave Ibadan for Lagos at 8 a.m. and return at 4 p.m. the same day.”

The district manager confirmed that the journey time from Lagos to Ibadan is two and a half hours.

According to Oche, this “makes more sense, going by recent reports of traffic gridlock that has characterised Lagos-Ibadan road, due to ongoing road construction along that axis.”

Railway District Manager urged Nigerians to embrace the new service, which he described as a new dawn in railway modernisation in the country.

All major rules and regulations guiding train operations, such as the use of nose masks and hand-washing in compliance with COVID-19 protocols must be observed, said he.

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