By Lawrence Olaoye
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has disclosed that the Federal Government may increase the transport fares of the rail services on the Abuja-Kaduna route following the inauguration of 10 new luxurious coaches.
The minister stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja yesterday.
According to him, already, commuters have agreed that the cost of transportation to Kaduna via the rail service is a bit too cheap.
On what he discussed with President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors, the minister said “We discussed the commissioning of 10 new coaches and 2 locomotives which will bring the total number of coaches to 14 on the Kaduna-Abuja route.
“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 cheat the passengers. There are two things I know the president like, I have mentioned one. The second one is after commissioning, even the passengers agree 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.
On how much traffic he anticipated on the route, he said “I’m not an expert in that area but one thing I know is that one of the locomotive 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.”