The Lagos-Ibadan rail line on Monday commenced commercial operations.
Lagos Railway District Manager of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, Jerry Oche, who spoke to our correspondent said the first trip took place around 10:40 am.
He said, “We have started commercial operations and it is picking gradually.
“The first trip from Ibadan-Lagos began at 10:40 am and the return trip left 4:05 pm.”
Speaking on the fares on the train, he explained that the price would range from N2,500 to N6,000 and not N3,000 as previously stated.
He explained that the range would allow people the option of choosing the one they could afford.
He said, “The fares are actually between N2,500 and N6,000. The coaches are not the same. There are 24 seater coaches, 68 and also 88, they are not the same level of comfort but all of them are air-conditioned.
“The number of coaches is based on legroom. The 24 seater is more comfortable. The 68 has more legroom than the 88 and the 88 has the least allowance for legroom.”
He added, “When you come to the ticket point, we allow you the option of different prices. We have not heard complaints about pricing but we listen to social media. Some are saying it is high and some are saying it is okay.
“That is why there is a range- it is a wide gap, depending on how you can afford. Some of us do Lagos-Ibadan commercial, I am also aware by taxi its is N2,500, and a bus is N1,500.”
While promising to improve upon speed, the railway boss explained that it was not wise to resume the rail service with high speed, considering the traders selling their wares along the tracks.
He said, “We will increase the speed. Lagos is cosmopolitan, and we cannot begin with high speed. Within Lagos, we do between 30 and 40 km/h and outside Lagos, we are doing 60 – 80km/h.
“We will increase the speed as we go on. We are yet to do that because of traders on the track and the illegal crossing. We are trying to clear them between this week and next week together with the Lagos State Government.”
Oche said the operations were commercial and no longer free, and would continue to operate in anticipation of the launch by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)