- Abuja-Kaduna train route became popular since insecurity enveloped the Abuja-Kaduna highway
Four months after train service operations on the Abuja Kaduna route was suspended due to the lockdown imposed as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, normal and scheduled operations is set to resume on Wednesday next week, 29th July.
This is just as President Buhari has also approved a hike in fares from N 1500 to 3,000 for economy class, 2500 to 5,000 for Business class and 6000 for the First class coacbes.
Speaking to journalists during a test run of the newly delivered Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) consisting of two locomotives and eight coaches, Minister of Transportation, Chief Chibuike Amaechi, explained that the hike in fares was to ensure that physical distancing is maintained as well as cover the running cost of the services.
He said: ” In a month, we get about N120million and if we run like this, we will realise about N60million. It then means that we need another N60million to complement the running cost. What the President did to approve the new fare hike for Abuja-Kaduna train service. President Buhari approved the reviewed fares as follows: Economy – N3,000, Business Class – N6,000. We even proposed higher fare but the President approved that we should leave it at that price.”
On the high fare, Chief Amaechi said that most people using the train can afford to pay the fare and most people are of the opinion that it’s nothing compared to the risk of kidnappers on the road.
On the commercial activities on Itakpe to Warri, he said that “the axis is more lucrative than the Abuja-Kaduna because by the time the new project start, they will have to be conveying the pipes from Warri seaport to Itakpe. But in terms of passenger burden, we have moved from 300 passrngers per day to 4,500 passengers per day. So, in terms of passenger volume, the Abuja-Kaduna railway is higher.”
On the Lagos railway project, the Minister stated: “We need about 1,000 workers to work on Ebutte Metta station and we are only working with 10. The two things we can do is to either run skeletal services and be running two services, one going and one coming. That means they will be using the double tracks. But they won’t be using the stations and if they have to use the stations, nobody should complain that they are uncompleted stations. But we will only do that if there is heavy pressure on traffic. If not, they may have to wait till the stations are ready.
“We had targeted May and they were working towards May. But unfortunately, COVID–19 came. So, we told them to complete the small stations because that one is easy. Ten persons can complete that station but the biggest station in Ebutte Metta, they will need about 1,000 workers on site and we don’t want to risk that because of the spread of the virus.”
On the Ibadan-Kano project, he said: “We are still waiting for money.”
On the tweet, Amaechi stated: “I never tweeted anything. I don’t have any Facebook or Twitter account. The only social account I have is Whats App. Have you ever seen me tweet before? I didn’t say you should disregard any information from my account cause I have staffs who may be doing such.”