Passengers on board the Lagos-Ibadan Standard gauge train have commended the Federal Government (FG) for making rail services like what is experienced abroad.
Some of the passengers expressed) during an investigative tour from Lagos to Ibadan on the Standard gauge rail.
Some of the passengers said they prayed the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) continued and maintained the cleanliness, which they said had transformed the Nigerian transportation system.
One of the passengers, Rev. Patrick Morrison, an expatriate, who was boarding the train for the first time commended the cleanliness of the train, adding that he also hoped the government would maintain the standards they already achieved
“This train service will transform Nigeria really well, we hope no one will sabotage and cause problem on the rail tracks.
“I want to recommend that the service should be decongested.
“When coming from Lagos, the station facility is beautiful but I observed that the queue for tickets was a bit congested, everyone was rushing.
” If the NRC can streamline the rushing at the ticketing and boarding sections, the operation at the railway station will be perfect,” Morrison said.
The Reverend Father urged government to migrate to E-Ticketing, to reduce crowd while buying tickets.
An Educationist, Chief Tayo Opanubi, said he was boarding the train for the second time and he enjoyed the trips, saying the fare was affordable considering all the facilities.
“The seat and leg rooms are comfortable because one can sleep and work around in the train comfortably without inconveniencing other passengers in the train.
He advised NRC to start a kind of tuck shop, so passengers can buy snacks and food while on board.
He said that the facilities were already in the train, that they just needed to add snacks vending to their service.
Opanubi pleaded with the management to reduce the Air-conditioning in the Business Class section, which he said he paid N4, 000 for a seat.
He urged Nigerians to patronise the railway and decongest the road.
He said going on the train was safer and faster compared with road travel, that one could spend more than five hours trying to get to Ibadan from Lagos.
A Fashion Designer, Mrs Nancy Abiodun, who had her children with her on the trip, said the facility at the railway station and on the train was beyond her expectation.
She said the journey was so much fun for her children, they did not touch their toys throughout.
Abiodun asked the NRC to improve on the passenger information, saying that her husband paid N16, 000 for four of them, including their five and three-year-old sons.
She said that they got to know after boarding that children from age three downwards were not supposed to pay for the train.
Another passenger, a Construction Engineer, Mr Steven Segun, who was boarding for the third time, said it was comfortable and safer going with the train than going with one’s car or commercial bus.
“There are lots of people who cannot afford to pay for the train, but for some people it is okay, you can see some people boarding First Class, Business class because they can afford it.
“The NRC management should move from manual ticketing to E-ticketing, which will address the issue of more than one person having the same seat number.
He said that he boarded the standard section, which costs N2, 600 and asked NRC to indicate the number of the coach at the entrance of each one for easy access and to reduce crowd.
A Businessman, Mr Abraham Agubare, said the train was perfect but was worried about the speed, which he described as slow for a business person, who had target time.
He commended the freight haulage, which would reduce truck traffic on the road and would also make them durable.
Agubare advised NRC to introduce flyers to enable passengers to know their operations and payment schedule.
A businesswoman, Mrs Abiola Amodu, said the train is comfortable but a bit slow compared to the ones abroad and urged government to reduce the fare for the standard section to N1, 500, to attract more passengers and decongest the road.
A Nurse onboard the train, Miss Valentina Ojo, who joined the cooperation in June, said she was employed to attend to passengers on board in case of an emergency.
“I have treated several passengers, who suffered from diarrhea, and there was a case of a man who was purging and vomiting at the same time and could not take medicine orally, so I had to give him injection and he was stable before getting to his destination.
“I am comfortable working onboard than in the hospital environment because it gives me more time to attend to personal engagement because we work one week on and a week off,” Ojo said.
The Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Western District of NRC, Mr Callistus Unyimadu, said the corporation had large patronage and they had gone into partnership with Pacesetter Transport Services, to ease passenger’s stress of getting to and leaving the Chief Obafemi Awolowo station in Ibadan.
“We had meeting with Pacesetter Transport Services, Oyo State, because we realised that we have some passengers coming from Iyaganku, Ring-Road, Oke-Ado and Challenge areas to Moniya to board the train.
“The transport service came in and said they will station their buses at Dugbe for passengers to commute to the station at affordable rate
“We are planning to introduce E-ticketing, we started Abuja to Kaduna train service by selling tickets manually before the introduction of E-ticketing.
” Government has also commenced the Warri/Itakpe train service, while the Lagos/Ibadan is the third standard gauge train service in the country,” Unyimadu said.
He said that the cooperation was working on the speed, adding that they would soon introduce another express train that would not stop at any station till it arrives at its destination.
Unyimadu urged passenger to reduce their luggage to weigh 25kg, adding that any passenger carrying more than 25kg would be refused entry.
He said that the use of scanners would be introduced when they fully take over from the contractors.