The Federal Government has disclosed that the increase in train fare for passengers using train services from Abuja to Kaduna was because of the patronages of rich Nigerians.
This was revealed by Rotimi Amaechi, Minister for Transportation at the 3rd edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit, held on Thursday, in Kaduna State,
Recall that the increase in fare took effect from Feb. 1, 2019.
The old fare for executive class of the country’s first high speed rail system was increased from N1,500 for executive class and N1,050 for standard class, to N3000 for executive class and N1,500 for standard.
The fare for the executive class of regular shuttle train was increased to N2,500 for executive class and N1,300 for the standard class.
Amaechi said that the train fares between Kaduna and Abuja was increased because majority of those using the service are rich, adding that the railway service was originally structured to cater for the transportation of poor people.
He said, “Some of you have been asking why we increased the fare between Kaduna and Abuja,” he said during his address at the summit.
“For each locomotive, we spend N56 million, when we were charging you N600, we were getting N16 million so all you rich men, we were dashing you N40 million per month. Actually, very few poor men use those trains.
“The actual intent of the president is to allow us to move poor people from Kaduna to Abuja. If you go to Rigasa, you will see the big men pack their cars and use the railway and chase away the poor people.
“So since it’s big men that use the railway, we jerked up the prices. You know what it’s called — appropriate pricing. So we price according to your pocket but it does not affect our subsidy, we still subsidise the railway.”
“The funny thing about the social media is that anytime there is a problem with the railway, the first person to know is me.
“I see all sorts of videos and I wonder if they realise that I am the minister for transport not the managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation so I can’t run the railways.
“In the past, none of you can send a video to a minister but now you not only send, they direct me on what to do,” the Transport Minister said.
He however urged Nigerians to always hold government accountable, especially in relation to the operation of the transportation service.
By OREDOLA ADEOLA