A standing ovation for the Lagos-Ibadan Railway or not?
The primary line of the Lagos-Ibadan railway has commenced operations with passengers. It is the first double-track standard gauge modern railway in West Africa which was constructed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The train has a standard limit of 588 passengers accompany with the guideline of the Nigerian government’s pandemic prevention and control prerequisites. The train would likewise be utilized as freight for consumers goods and refined oil based goods from ports to different places across the nation, which would lessen the tension on road infrastructure.
It made its historic trip at precisely 8:00am on December 7, 2020 from Ibadan to Lagos with only one passenger turning up out of the thousands of Nigerians who daily travel through the Lagos-Ibadan route. The trip lasted for about 2 hours and 40 minutes, ran 156 kilometers and showed up at Lagos station at 10:40a.m. The train later left the Lagos station at 16:00, back to Ibadan arriving at 18:40, effectively finishing the main trial. Although, it was stated that the official service begins this year, 2021.
Notwithstanding that the commercial activities of the Lagos-Ibadan railway started with an extremely poor patronage. This is due to the controversy over high charges issued at a cost range of N3,000 – N6,000. Also, a lot of travelers are yet to understand its business viability, hence the low turn up.
Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, had earlier reported a value system of N3, 000 for the economy, N5, 000 for business, and N6, 000 for first class passengers .
Nigerians, who responded on social media, were dismayed over the charges issued by the government, depicting it as preposterous and forced to make the service selectively for the elites who are quite careful about the dangers of driving on the roads. The fares are a lot higher than what the regular Lagos-Ibadan vehicles would charge (N1, 500). Aside from the hike in price to purchase train tickets, people also complained on the accessibility to the train terminals.
One of the primary travelers who boarded the Lagos-Ibadan train expounded on his encounters… There is no internet booking as the Nigeria Railway Corporation(NRC) site isn’t accessible. Tickets are to be bought at the NRC office in Ebute-Meta (The only train station accessible in Lagos). An Identification card is also needed prior to buying your tickets.
Some of the comfortable ride benefits boarding the Lagos-Ibadan train are; no police checkpoints, no potholes, no dread of running into criminals or kidnappers, fully air-conditioned service, comfortable seats, there are wall sockets for travelers to charge gadgets and most importantly no traffic on train tracks.
Inside the train is furnished with security cameras to monitor the activities of people within and outside the train and several TVs alongside music players for your entertainment. There is a restaurant, where you can get your food and drinks on board. As well as clean toilets with washing-hand basin.
There is no significant difference between the economy and business categories, simply bigger seats, a table where you can easily put your laptop, drink or your food. Also, an additionally mini bar in the business class that is yet to be utilized. It was mentioned that the Lagos-Ibadan railway doesn’t operates during the weekend yet.
This is a new dawn in the railway modernization, we guess the elitist charges would be a way for the masses to pay back loan used in the budget. Let’s not discard the fact that there is the issue of maintenance and service sustainability in the future. Things as this tend to decline later on due to the phenomenal for the average Nigerian to keep up with infrastructures like this, maintenance is key and we hope it will be different.
You might like to check this out; Lagos Yellow Taxi Drivers Stepping Up Their Game: Adopt Ride Hailing App
Written by Catherine Aigbe