The ever-busy Abuja – Kaduna rail operations that were suspended in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume on Wednesday, July 29.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, announced this, Saturday, during the inspection and test run of the 10 newly acquired coaches and two locomotives deployed on the Abuja- Kaduna rail corridor.
According to the minister, the federal government had come under pressure to resume train services on the corridor, to ease the movement of people during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations.
Consequent upon the scheduled resumption, fares on the Abuja/Kaduna railway have been reviewed.
While those using business class are to pay N6000 in the latest fare/price regime, economy class will now go for N3000.
“President Buhari approved the reviewed fares as follows: economy N3000, business class N6000.
“We even proposed higher fare but the president approved that we should leave it at that price”, Amaechi said.
Asked if the fare was not on the high side, the minister responded by saying that, “most people using the train can afford to pay the fare and most people are of the opinion that it is notting compared to the risk of kidnappers on the road”.
Meanwhile, the former Rivers State Governor has said that commercial activities on the Itakpe – Warri axis, make it more lucrative than the Abuja-Kaduna stretch.
This was as he disclosed that, once the Nweke project started, they will have to be conveying the pipes from Warri seaport to Itakpe.
Nonetheless, he noted that in terms of passenger burden, “we have moved from 300 passengers per day to 4500 passengers per day,.
“So, in terms of passenger volume, the Abuja-Kaduna railway is higher”.
Speaking on the Lagos railway, he stated thus: “We need about 1000 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 2 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 cause that one is easy 10persons can complete that station but the biggest station in Ebutte Metta they will need about 1000 workers on site and we don’t want to risk that because of spread of the virus”.
The minister also spoke on the
Ibadan-Kano project, wherein he disclosed that government was still expecting funds to commence work.
Hear him: “We are still waiting for money, on the tweet, I never tweeted anything I don’t have any Facebook or Twitter account the only social account I have is WhatsApp.
“Have you ever seen me tweet before? I didn’t say you should disregard any information from my account because I have staff who may be doing such”.