Written by Adeyinka Aderibigbe
From one passenger when it started operating on the penultimate Monday, the newly launched Lagos-Ibadan standard track service now carries 187 passengers, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said.
This is precisely at a time when the Federal Government has insisted that there be no return on train prices, which it said are fair and accessible to the public.
NRC Executive Director Fidet Okhiria, who spoke on the sidelines of the project inspection over the weekend, said passenger response was improving.
The NRC began commercial operations on December 7, on a train departing in the morning from Ibadan in the state of Oyo and returning in the evening.
But on the first trip only one passenger was recorded, and on the return trip there were eight.
Many Nigerians have asked for a review of ticket prices, which they said were too high.
Train service costs between N2,500 for economy class, N5,000 for business class and N6,000 for first class buses.
Justifying the high prices, Okhiria said: “In order to maintain the service, we have to charge reasonable prices. We will pay bonuses to our workers. Although the government pays workers’ salaries, those who work outside working hours outside the stations must be paid bonuses. “