-The development would aid in increasing passengers comfort – Amaechi
-The first two modern locomotives for the route were purchased at N1.1 billion
Buhari to commission 10 coaches, 2 locomotives, 1 inland dry port in Kaduna
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday commission 10 new coaches and two locomotives for Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line and an inland dry port in Kaduna.
The date of the commissioning was disclosed by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, while he spoke with newsmen after meeting the president in the State House.
Amaechi said that the increase of locomotives from two to 14 would put an end to racketeering, adding that the station managers, porters, and ticket officials at Idu and Rigasa rail stations were sacked in August, 2017 over the issue of racketeering.
The minister said after discussing the planned inauguration with the president, Buhari was pleased with the development, adding that more so that it would relieve pressure from passengers and increase their comfort.
Amaechi said: “The president is pleased with the arrangement because basically we will then be able to discharge the passengers pressure that we have had, that is why you have ticket racketeering. When demand outstrips supply then you see all sorts of attempts to cheats the passengers.
“There are two things I know the president likes, I have mentioned one, the second one, is after inauguration even the passengers agreed that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the railway is a bit too cheap. So there will be a need to increase the price of the cost and then there will be more comfort.
“More comfort in the sense that when you have excess seats multiplied by the number of passengers that will come, then anybody that wants to racketeer will have to eat the tickets himself.
He went on saying, “I’m not an expert in that area but one thing I know is that one of the locomotives will be dedicated to direct trip from Kaduna to Abuja non-stop, that should be doing 1:15 or 1:20 minutes non-stop.
“That will enable those living in Kaduna and working in Abuja to actually come to work on time. If you leave at 6am by 7:15, 7:20 you should be in Abuja,” he concluded.
Meanwhile, the commissioning follows the Federal Government has announced its plan to increase rail transport fare for Abuja-Kaduna route from the current rate of N1,500 for executive class and N1,050 for standard class. However, the new fares are yet to be disclosed.
The first two modern locomotives for the route were purchased at N1.1 billion under the previous government led by President Goodluck Jonathan.