The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday said insecurity along the Abuja-Kaduna road has increased the passenger traffic on the Abuja-Kaduna rail service by 270 per cent. The route, which has a carrying capacity of 1,000 daily passengers, now ferries 3,700 passengers daily.
Amaechi also revealed that more coaches would soon be added on the route to cater for the high passenger volume. This will also stop the passengers from standing on the coaches while travelling.
“The reason why we allowed standing on the Abuja-Kaduna train is the insecurity that has made it unbearable to insist on sitting.
“But once we get the next 10 coaches we are sending to Abuja-Kaduna, the situation where passengers stand inside our coaches will be reduced. Although it will not solve the problem of the 3,700 passengers, at least it will reduce the number of those who stand.”
He also added that ,
“The actual number of passengers that the service can take for the sitting capacity is about 1,000 plus, but we are carrying 3,700 people daily. So if you add 10 coaches of 84 passengers per coach, you will know that we are under pressure. We know that when the coaches come and we make it more regular the pressure will be reduced.”
The Minister also revealed plans to start making Made-In-Nigeria Trains. He said that on November 8, 2019, the Federal Government would lay the foundation for the Kajola factory in Ogun State where locomotives, wagons and coaches would be constructed by Chinese firms at no cost to Nigeria.
Amaechi also announced plans to commence a trial run of trains on the Lagos-Ibadan railway service in December. He said passengers will get free train rides during the Yuletide period.
“Our target is to start by November 30 this year, specifically from Ebute-Meta in Lagos to Ibadan in Oyo State.”
He urged the contractor handling the project, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, to complete the minor stations on the Lagos-Ibadan railway before November 25.
“If I spend sleepless nights to sign approvals for you, I don’t want to hear you use rain as an excuse why you can’t deliver your job as engineers,”
“I will struggle to make sure that before Christmas it happens,”