Stakeholders in Lagos express preference for railway transportation – Survey

27 Aug 2021 9:12 AM GMT
Stakeholders in Lagos express preference for railway transportation – Survey

Some stakeholders in Lagos State  have expressed preference for train service, saying the effective use of railway transportation will boost the nation’s economy, if well maintained. The stakeholders, who spoke in separate interviews in Lagos, expressed preference for train over other means of transportation in the country as long as safety standard were prioritised. Dr […]

Some stakeholders in Lagos State have expressed preference for train service, saying the effective use of railway transportation will boost the nation’s economy, if well maintained.

The stakeholders, who spoke in separate interviews in Lagos, expressed preference for train over other means of transportation in the country as long as safety standard were prioritised.

Dr Benjamin Kwagagba, the Director, Academic Planning, Dominican University, Ibadan, who boarded the standard gauge train from Ibadan to Lagos, said the train service was more acceptable than other means of transportation.

“The train is comfortable and I was able to do a lot of work on the train and the psychological stress of driving the car from Ibadan to Lagos is off, while boarding train I am so comfortable.

“Even though the speed is poor compared to Europe where I came from, the train is perfect and acceptable to me as well as others.

“If all the goods to and from the ports are carried by train then articulated vehicles will be off the road.

Another traveler, Mr Conde Adewole, said train was the only reliable means of transportation for majority of Nigerians now in the country.

Adewole urged government to introduce shuttle service in all major entry points in Ibadan such as Ring road, Iwo road and Ojo to enable them get to the stations without much stress.

He said that train as a means of transportation would improve movement of goods and services, more business activities and also open business opportunities in the environment.

Mrs Bola Adeoti, a Microfinance Operator in Lagos, who lives in Ibadan, said she had been boarding train service since June on a daily basis.

Adeoti said the train turnaround time was getting better, adding that before it was a trip per day and later it developed to two trips per day between Lagos and Ibadan.

“The management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation should work on the security by searching passengers thoroughly before boarding the train.

“I noticed that when we are about to board the train, the management just engage in mini check and anybody can take harmful weapons on board the train.

“The traveling I am embarking on with the train cannot be experienced on road transport and government should develop other areas in Ibadan like Dugbe to access the train station easily,” she said.

Adeoti said train service had increased the economy in the country as many Ibadan-based travellers, who worked in Lagos had been operating another business like farming in Ibadan while working in Lagos.

She pleaded with the government to reduce the fare and increase the number of stations to enable more Nigerians to benefit the train service.

A businessman, who resides in Ogun State, Mr Christ Ugrm, said that he was very comfortable with the train just as if he was in a plane, urging the railway management to increase the frequency on the Ibadan-Lagos route.

He also urged government to consider early morning trip at a.m. between Lagos and Ibadan to reduce congestion in Lagos and allow people to resume work on time.

Ugrm said that the speed should be increased and they should maintain the neatness in the train.

A trader, who lives in Ijoko, Ogun, appreciated the smooth operation of the narrow gauge railway, saying that its introduction enabled passengers to transact businesses in Lagos with ease.

“We are managing the narrow gauge train but they should help us to put it in better condition, most times the narrow gauge usually develop mechanical fault on the road at least twice in a week.

“The first train will take off from Ijoko by 5:30 a.m, while the second train will take off past 6a.m, without delay we get to Lagos before two hours but when it is faulty, we spend more than four hours in getting to Lagos.

A student of Federal College of Education, Akoka Yaba, Miss Oyindamola Otudeko, wanted a reversal to the N230 fare they were paying before the lockdown from the N460 fare now being charged.

“Government should also help us to increase the coaches on the narrow gauge to accommodate many passengers.

“This is because most of us boarding from Alagomeji station usually stand in the train, while some will hang on the train along Agege area,” he said.

An artisan, Mr Lawal Sulaimon, asked the government to improve on condition of narrow gauge railway, adding that only Lagos was operating the narrow gauge railway presently in the country.

Lagos District Manager, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Jerry Oche, said that the corporation was awaiting go ahead from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to enable it introduce snacks on board Lagos Ibadan standard gauge train.

On speed, Oche said that the speed and turnaround time of the standard gauge railway would not be increased until the expected delivery of the signaling.

He said that the allowed luggage on board the standard gauge was 25kg per person, and that excess luggage would attract additional payment, adding that the use of scanner to check luggage would commence soon.

The district manager said that many banks had written to partner with NRC to enable passengers access money to purchase their tickets, adding that currently, passengers were using ‘Point of Sale’ (POS) for payment of tickets at rail stations.

According to him, the corporation runs two return trips – Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Lagos, 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. from Monday to Sunday, while on Saturday, it runs two return trips: Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Lagos, 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

According to Mr Simbo Akintola, a retired NRC engineer, the railway network across the country is a means of socio-economic interaction between different ethnic nationalities.

“Trading with other parts of the country was much easier, mobilisation of goods and people were safe, even, cheaper and national integration enhanced.

“The near collapse of the old railway system in the late eighties brought the country’s economy to its knees, with its attendant uneven distribution of goods and services.

“The collapse of the system that was encouraged by wanton vandalism of rail lines and its other critical infrastructure caused massive job losses in the sector and produced price hikes,” he said.

Also speaking on the benefit of the rail network, the immediate past Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Shippers Council, Mr Hassan Bello, said that the revival of the railway system was most critical to the nation’s economy.

Bello, who spoke glowingly on intermodal transport system at a send-off ceremony for him recently in Lagos, suggested the linking of coastal areas and ports with rail lines.

According to him, the transportation of containers from one part of the country to another by road contributed to constant dilapidation of the nation’s roads.

“With the revival of the rail network with the Standard Gauge Line by the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, much of the cargoes in the ports will be transported to places where they are needed through railway system,” Bello said.

Bello, who reminiscent the good old days of the nation’s railway system, appealed to the Federal Government to expedite action on the ongoing standard gauge rail network.

He said that its extension to other areas not reached would enhance commercial activities in the country.

Next Story