The Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi has announced that rail services will resume in the next 48 hours.
To this end, the Abuja – Kaduna service which was put on hold due to the the advent of the COVID 19 pandemic is to reopen to the public.
The Minister made the disclosure after his Ministry organized a test ride which took him to Kaduna.
He said that appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of the virus would be enforced.
The Minister also announced the introduction of new fares.
According to him passengers traveling first class would pay N6, 000 naira while business class passengers would be expected to pay N5, 000.
He further disclosed that those making the trip between Abuja and Kaduna on board the economy coach would be charged N3, 000.
Also speaking, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai expressed happiness over the reintroduction of the rail service.
The Governor noted that he was not concerned about security issues, stressing that the route has always been safe.
But he emphasized that obeying Covid 19 protocols was more critical in order to ensure that people remain safe.
He said that he agreed with the new transport fares announced by the railway authorities.
He explained that because of the former fares, people bought and resold the tickets at higher rates.
According to him, there was nothing wrong for the Federal Government to earn additional funds by slightly raising the fares.
Inside sources say that the increase in fares was necessitated by a need to guarantee the quality of service that is being provided for the benefit of Nigerians.
Amaechi had maintained that the intention of the Ministry was not to make profit.
He said that the idea was to ensure that the authorities would continue to deliver quality services to the masses
Recall that the Ministry of Transportation earlier operated a test service along the Itakpe Warri route which facilities have just been completed, and named after former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan had initiated the Kaduna Abuja rail line, but it took the intervention of the Buhari administration to finish it.
Observers say that the test carried out at Itakpe is evidence of the readiness of the Nigerian government to kick-start services along that route.
New coaches acquired by the Ministry were deployed as part of the test conducted on the standard gauge rail lines which from all indications is ready for use.