High Fare: Abuja-Kaduna Train Records Low Patronage
The Abuja to Kaduna train service had recommenced operations last Wednesday, four months after it shut down in response to the COVID-19 outbreak but only 5,000 persons have used the service nearly one week after.
Statistics by Mr. Victor Adamu, the Operations Manager, Abuja-Kaduna rail service of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), showed that five days into the resumption of train operations, less than 5,000 passengers have used the service from Abuja to Kaduna and from Kaduna to Abuja.
Previously, NRC carried between 4,000 and 5,000 passengers daily on the service.
The low passenger turnout was linked to the 100 percent hike in ticket fare.
At the Idu Train station, the usual pressure on the trains weren’t there, not even during the Sallah rush travel.
A traveller, Zeenat Ahmed, said she felt it was unfair for the fare hike. “So instead of putting everything on the passengers, both parties should lose 50-50. They shouldn’t have put the price at N3000.”
Mr. Kelechi John said: “It is like telling us to weigh the options between travelling by road and by rail. Why can’t the government subsidise the operations till November or December?”
Mairo Hassan said, “The increase in fares is not in the interest of Nigerians as not everybody can afford it, with the way things are right now together with COVID-19 pandemic.”
However, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, said a coach of 88 passengers now takes 56 passengers. Although it generated N120 million before, now it’s making below N60m and running cost was about N90m to N100m.
“There are two things that could be done: increase the fares or government subsidise; and we gave the government the opportunity but there is no money so the government can’t subsidise,” he explained.