By Adelola Amihere
Passengers using the Abuja Kaduna train service will have to pay double the fare due to measures put in place to maintain physical distancing as a way of curbing the spread of the coronavirus, the Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Amaechi has said.
Operations on the Abuja-Kaduna route was suspended in March following the lockdown imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, passengers paid N1300 for the economy cabin and N2500 for the executive coach.
However, passengers may have to pay N2600 and N5000 for economy cabin and executive respectively by the time train services resume.
Amaechi, who disclosed this while inspecting the Itakpe-Warri railway corridor, said: “In fact, this is more like a test run. I told them I want only 30 persons and I’m sure we are more than that. So imagine what happens when you have to deal with passengers. This test run will make us go back to the drawing board.
“The first thing we will put in place, when we get approval, is that the cost of transportation from Abuja to Kaduna will double, because each coach takes 88 passengers, but we will reduce it to 40 and the price will increase. We will need to talk to the President before we move on.”
Amaechi, while releasing guidelines for the resumption of train services, said they would also ensure that everybody come with his own 90 percent alcohol based hand sanitiser, adding that passengers must come with face mask, without which they won’t enter the terminal building.
The Minister further said the number of Police officers on board each coach would increase to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the naming of the Agbor Railway Complex after his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in appreciation of his effort in the revival of infrastructural projects in the country.
The Special Assistant to the President on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi disclosed this on his Twitter handle. “President @MBuhari has approved the naming of the Railway Complex in Agbor-the operational hub of Itakpe-Warri rail line after President Goodluck Jonathan. It will be known as the Goodluck Jonathan Railway Station and Complex,” he tweeted.