The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday, stated the federal government is not going to additional enhance ticket costs on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route, with the intention to accommodate the poor.
The Minister, who made the remark throughout an interview on Sunrise Daily, famous he’s conscious of calls to extend the ticket costs, to make sure the railway makes sufficient revenue to pay again the loans incurred in its development and change into sustainable.
But Amaechi stated railways don’t make income (from passenger ticket costs) internationally as a result of they’re often subsidised.
READ ALSO: Again, Amaechi Inspects Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line Says, ‘I’m Unhappy With Pace Of Work’
“If we increase the cost of the tickets, what about the poor man that wants to move from Abuja to Kaduna? What about the poor man who works in Abuja and lives in Kaduna to save the cost of accommodation,” he stated.
“So, usually, all over the world, you subsidise railway, so that the poor can have an easy means for transportation so that you improve your economy. Don’t forget, the railway is built not for passenger transportation, it is built as a means to grow the economy of a country.
“The economy will pay for it. Take the numbers of businesses that you grow across that line, take the numbers of companies you’ve established, take the taxes they pay to you.”
Solving Ticket Racketeering
Meanwhile, to unravel the issue of ticket racketeering on the Abuja-Kaduna rail route, the Minister stated the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) is ready to roll out new locomotives and coaches.
He defined that the variety of coaches and locomotives earlier deployed to the route was for 300 passengers each day.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, appeared on Sunrise Daily on Monday, February 3, 2020.
“Traffic count as at the time we deployed those coaches was 300. So, every day you move 300 passengers,” he stated. “And suddenly there is a spike. You have 3,700 passengers per day with the same number of locomotives and coaches for 300 people, so what do you do?
“Don’t forget that the coaches and locomotives are not things you just go to the shop and buy. No, you have to manufacture, you have to fabricate. It took us nearly two years to fabricate the new coaches and locomotives that are just arriving now.”
Lagos-Ibadan Route Delay
On the Lagos-Ibadan railway, the Minister declined to offer a deadline for the route’s completion.
“We agreed I should not talk about deadlines anymore,” he stated, referring to the Chinese contractors in command of the challenge, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
READ ALSO: Why Lagos-Ibadan Rail May Not Be Completed By April – Amaechi
“What they told us the first time was April 2020. But they ran into problems. Their goods were yet to be cleared from the seaport. But the Director of Nigeria Ports Authority helped get their goods to berth.
“Now they are clearing. Because of that delay in clearing the cargoes they need to build stations, do the signalling and communications – they’ve completed tracks. I used the tracks to Ibadan and back. But that’s not what the railway is. You have to deal with signalling, terminals and all that. Now that all that has been discharged from the seaports, we hope that they will complete it according to the time they gave me – I won’t tell anybody the time; I will keep it to myself.
“There is an improvement, now, in the pace of work. They’ve cleared the items they need to complete the stations and signalling. The pace of work has improved. Manpower has also increased.”