Editorial

Abuja-Kaduna Train Stations: The secret game played involved

By Abdulazeez Alhassan, Kaduna

Kaduna-Abuja train station is located at Rigasa town in Kaduna State. It is an inter-state train station, which is one of the busiest and most widely patronized train stations in Nigeria.

On 22nd of January, 2021, the federal government launched an e-ticketing platform for the online purchase of tickets at the Abuja-Kaduna, Kaduna-Abuja rail corridor. However, according to the minister of transportation, Right Honourable Rotimi Amaech, it will solve commuters complaint of ticket racketeering. It will as well enhance efficiency, ease hardship and promote accountability.

Unfortunately, the system does not efficiently work as stated by the minister because, it is a known fact that commercial sellers have continued to sell tickets at exorbitant prices. They book almost 75-80% of the tickets for themselves, thereby keeping passengers stranded with no option rather than buying it unofficially from them with a minimum of 35% increase.

Futhermore, when the federal government declared free train rides from December 24th, 2021 to January 4th 2022 to ease the cost of transportation and enable citizens to easily enjoy the festive period (Christmas and New Year), what was been witnessed was on the contrary, because, the Abuja railway operators have continued to sell tickets to passengers for a while – during the same period; though it was later addressed.

Indeed, it is surprising to hear shocking revelations that the Kaduna railway operators were not left out in this defying act, as they have formed the habit of selling already booked e-ticket to customers since before the Yuletide season. It was most embarrassing during the Yuletide season when they sold a booked e-ticket to two passengers, thereby creating an unnecessary contretemp; (a witness disclosed). It is absurd and disheartening that the federal government is said to be aware of this, but did nothing.

In the meantime, while people are battling the hardship attributed to procuring tickets, the federal government decided to make an unanounced train fare hike, Kaduna-Abuja(though not official(for the economic class from #2500 – #4000. All efforts have been made to officially hear from the train station but was in vain This is equally sad and unacceptable.

In the same way, if we can recall, the federal government increased train fares amidst precautionary measures to curtail COVID-19, promising to reduce the train fares whenever the country is almost free from the virus. Sadly, the government reneged on its promise and decided to welcome us with a further increment.

Personally, I think this is not the right time for the federal government to increase train fare(not official)given the economic crisis at hand, in which many households cannot afford three square meals a day, let alone children’s school fees and shelter.

These are all coming at a time when Kaduna-Abuja Road has become a death trap with kidnappers operating freely; come rain come shine, scaring all road users and nobody is willing to risk his life plying that road, any time.

Conclusively, the federal government should checkmate the train workers at (Abuja and Rigasa stations). They should as well rethink about the unannounced and unofficial train fare hike they recently made, if the train service is indeed targetted at serving the masses.

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