Only one passenger turned up and made the historic trip from Ibadan to Lagos yesterday because the Lagos-Ibadan railroad track train started operation.
The newly introduced service, consistent with the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), provides fully air-conditioned train services within the Economy, Business and first-class categories.
The corporation deployed just one Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) to kick-start the operation.
Transportation Minister Rotimi Amaechi had announced a price regime of N3,000 for the Economy, N5,000 for the Business and N6,000 for first-class .
Nigerians had appealed for a discount of the fares, which many saw as unaffordable for the masses.
Our correspondent gathered that the inaugural train service, which originated from Ibadan, the Oyo capital , left around 8.20 a.m and arrived Lagos at 10.40 a.m with but five passengers on board.
No passenger was picked at Abeokuta, the Ogun capital .
“We had one passenger from Ibadan to Lagos, and this is often commonplace . The service is simply commencing. I’m sure as time goes on, the patronage will improve. Don’t forget again that we are approaching Christmas and New Year when patronage is predicted to drastically improve,” a source on the inaugural trip told the state yesterday.
The Railway director for Lagos, Jerry Oche said: “The Lagos Ibadan railroad track train affords members of the general public the chance to go away Ibadan for Lagos at 8 a.m and return at 4 p.m an equivalent day.”
The director confirmed that the journey time from Lagos to Ibadan is 2 and a half hours.
This, he said, “makes more sense, going by recent reports of traffic gridlock that has characterised Lagos-Ibadan road, thanks to ongoing construction along that axis”.
Oche urged Nigerians to embrace the new service, which he described as a replacement dawn in railway modernisation.
The director added that each one major rules and regulations guiding train operations, just like the use of nose masks and hand-washing in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, must be observed.
The train left Lagos at 4.10 p.m for Ibadan with five passengers. The NRC said it might run one schedule of economic service until patronage picks up.
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