Better days are here for passengers on the Abuja -Kaduna rail as the Nigerian railway corporation says it is set to roll out hourly train services on the route.
The MD ,NRC, Engr Fidet Okhiria who spoke to journalist over the weekend says new coaches have arrived to boost the service on the Abuja-Kaduna rail.
“For the new coaches, two locomotives have arrived. You know it’s not easy to move by road, we hope that in the next three weeks, the other two locomotives and eight coaches would have arrived Kaduna”.
” Immediately they will commission them and we will start operations with them. With that we can have the hourly train. The DME Wil be non-stop train to Kaduna”.
He however said the cost may be affected.
” At the same time, the price will not be the same again because the seats there, we have the one that can only take 24 people, we have another two that can take 56 people and the normal one. So we don’t expect people who will relax their chair to also pay the same price. However there will be no general price review except for the DME price that. No pricing yet as we are still working on it”.
Commenting on the progress of the Lagos-Ibadan rail, Okhiria said the work was only slowed down by the Coronavirus incidents and not stopped completely.
“The work on the Lagos Ibadan rail line Was only slowed down not stopped because of the coronavirus. The Minister didn’t say it was stopped, he said slowed down”.
“He said its better for people to be alive so monthly inspection is put on hold. Without inspection the Chinese people won’t work hard”.
“And at the time it happened, it was the Chinese spring holiday where most of the Staff working with us traveled to celebrate their new year holiday so those who travelled could not come back. That affected the pace but not that they stopped working.but like I said by the end of April they would have gotten to Ebutte Metta junction”
Despite the hiccups however, he said the turn over is good.
“On the Monthly turnover, we take in close to N200million a month. N180m to N200 Million a month. I don’t have the figures for passenger traffic offhand now”.
“But now we operate with about N100m every month, like cleaning, washing, security fuelling maintenance.. The staff are being paid by government. That why I said if Government pays you salary, it’s a subsidy. They also bring the money for balast. It’s still subsidy “.
He said there have been calls for private sector participation.
“We have been announcing for private Secor to come and operate. It s just to have an MoU and put the signaling communication proper for then to operate”.