As economic activities pick up weeks after the nationwide shutdown, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has announced plans to reopen the Abuja-Kaduna rail service by July 29.
The Minister who disclosed this while test-running new coaches recently added on the route said just like other businesses the train services were shut down in March to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Amaechi added that there has been pressure from several quarters to resume the railway service before Sallah.
He said, “We will resume the Abuja-Kaduna train service on Wednesday, July 29.”
Speaking on the fare the Minister revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had agreed that the fare be reviewed to accommodate well-meaning Nigerians.
The fare for the economy class was reviewed to N3000 and the Business class, N6000, he said.
He assured passengers as well as service providers of the station that measures were already in place to ensure all safety precautions were taken to curtail the spread of COVID-19 onboard trains.
Also The Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation, Fidet Okhiria, while commenting on the stations preparednes said the corporation was ready for the resumption on Wednesday.
He said,”We are ready, it is just a matter of calling the essential workers in the station. We have been checking the coaches and warming the locomotives, so we are ready to go.
“The e-ticket has been approved but it will take time of up to three months for it to come to the doorsteps. While we are doing that, the best move is to be giving out the hard copy of the ticket before the e-ticket starts.”
“The fare is not going to be so different from the former, though it will depend on the pleasure that you want.
“For trips that will take off from Kaduna straight to Abuja non-stop, it will be higher than those that will stop at the five stations.
Okhiria explained that upon resumption on Wednesday July 29, only eight trips would be embarked on because of the introduction of the Diesel Multiple Unit, 10 new coaches, and two locomotives that have arrived.
Train service on the Abuja-Kaduna route had since last year become one of the major means of transportation commuters relied on as kidnappers and violent criminals took over the roads killing and torturing travellers captured while on their trip.
Hence when the Abuja-Kaduna rail service was launched it didn’t not take much effort for the service to get passengers daily as a larger percentage of people travelling to Kaduna depended on it to get to their destination.