NRC raises fares as Lagos-Ogun train service resumes
Experts laud FG’s plan of gradual resumption
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced that the Lagos-Ogun Mass Transit train will resume today, September 14, 2020, after five months of suspension.
This was contained in a statement by the Lagos District Public Relations Officer of the NRC, Dr. Khadijah Aroyewun–Adekomaiya. The statement quoted the District Manager of NRC in Lagos, Mr. Jerry Oche, as declaring that COVID-19 protocols would be adhered to. Oche said: “NRC is set to resume its Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS) on Monday, September 14, 2020.
“The resumption is coming after a compulsory shutdown of train operations due to COVID-19 outbreak.
“Following the guidelines set by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for the reopening of rail transportation within established parameters, the Nigerian Railway Corporation has made important changes to the delivery of services on its Mass Transit Trains (MTT).
“Our MTTS would now cost N460 flat per trip and the trains would no longer stop at some stations.”
“It is to be noted that the MTT train would leave Ijoko by 6.30 a.m. and Iddo by 17.30 p.m.
“In strict adherence to NCDC’s guidelines for public engagement, no passenger would be allowed to board the train without a face mask and hand sanitiser.
“This is an addition to the measures the NRC management has taken to ensure proper physical distancing while boarding and onboard the MTT.
“In addition to strict physical distancing measures on board, the mass transit train seats marked ‘X’ are not to be sat on.
“Standing or hanging on the train will not be allowed. This will not be tolerated. It is to be noted that defaulters of these laid-down rules would be prosecuted,” he said.
The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NURW) said the hike was economically fair as compared to other means of transportation. Secretary General of the NURW, Segun Esan, who spoke with The Guardian, said the fare was economically okay because if the NRC does not increase fares, it may not be able to meet the overhead cost.
Esan said that the Federal Government remained the exclusive regulator of railway services and was expected to subsidise fares for passengers as part of efforts to reduce passengers’ burden.
MEANWHILE, experts have commended government’s plan of gradual resumption of the services with strict safety measures in place, as this will ease the burden on road transport, which is usually overwhelmed.
They noted that political will would make the rail sector viable. The Dean, School of Transport, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Samuel Odewumi, said it was proper to shut down operations at the time they did but believed it was time to start the railway operations.