Low patronage as Abuja-Kaduna train service resumes

There has been low patronage since the Abuja-Kaduna train service resumed Wednesday.

The transportation minister, Rotimi Amaechi,  had announced a 100 per cent hike in fares.

A passenger seen at the train station in Abuja on Thursday, Kingsley James, said only a few passengers were interested in the service which he described as “a good omen”.

“If someone had told me a day would come that I would come here at 1:30pm and get a ticket from the station without having to struggle on a long queue or patronise racketeers, I would not have believed,” he said.

He said the few passengers at the station might be connected to the increased fares.

There were six passengers at the station on Friday, when our reporter visited. One of the officials said the train did not leave Abuja at its regular time of 2:20 due to the Sallah holiday. He said ticketing might start at about 2:30pm while the passengers were kept away from the train station. The official said the train would leave in the evening.

Another passenger, Rakiya Adamu, said it was pleasing that the station was not crowded.

“I dreaded this place before the lockdown. The crowd push and rush as well as racketeers were terrible. There were days that I had to get my ticket before coming to the station because you were not sure of getting it on-board due to the influx of people. But now, I just walked in, got a ticket and about to board,” she said.

She, however, said the government needed to review the price of the tickets downward so that it would be affordable.

Abdullahi Mohammed said the increased fare discouraged several people from using the train. “You end up spending more than N4, 000. You will have to board a taxi from the house to the train station. I reside in Lokogoma and it takes more than N1, 500 to get here. Add it to N3, 000, you will discover that going by road is cheaper,” he said.


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