Passengers travelling from Ibadan to Lagos had plenty of fun and a smooth ride on the train on Monday as the Nigerian Railway Corporation commenced commercial operation on the new standard gauge rail line.
The train with all the trappings of modernity including air conditioner left Ibadan, the Oyo State capital at 8am, according to a statement by the NRC, captioned, ‘NRC starts Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge passengers train’ and return passengers going from Lagos to Ibadan at 4pm.
Managing Director of the NRC, Mr Fidet Okhiria, had said during the last inspection visit and train tour of the new line by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, that the new train would commence operation on December 7.
He also said 24 new coaches, four locomotives dedicated to passenger train, nine freight locomotives, and shunting locomotives had arrived in Lagos while two of the freight locomotives would be transferred to Warri.
The statement by the corporation on the starting of the new train on Monday signed by the Lagos District Public Relations Officer, Dr Khadijah Aroyewun-Adekomaiya, quoted the NRC Lagos District Manager, Jerry Oche, as saying the train was “run using newly acquired coaches and locomotives.”
He added, “This service is fast, convenient, safe and relatively cheap. There is an option for everyone as the tickets are available in Economy to First-Class rates.”
Oche explained that “the journey time from Lagos to Ibadan is two and a half hours which makes more sense going by recent reports of traffic that has characterised Lagos-Ibadan road due to ongoing road construction along that axis.
“Train service in Lagos is experiencing a new dawn and we are encouraging Nigerians to embrace this new service.”
The corporation also said it observed all the regulations concerning the running of trains during the period of COVID-19 such as wearing of nose masks, hand washing practice, which are measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some details about the new train were also given by a presidential aide, Tolu Ogunlesi, in a tweet, stating that “For now, it’s doing 30-40km/hr in Lagos metropolis.”
He added, “Speed and capacity will increase with time. Keep in mind there’s still some construction work ongoing (station buildings etc).
“Also likely won’t hit maximum speeds until the line fencing is completed. (Sadly because of some Lagosians’ love for rail-line merchandising).”
The statement issued on Monday by the NRC is presented below:
NIGERIAN RAILWAY CORPORATION
NRC STARTS LAGOS-IBADAN STANDARD GUAGE PASSENGERS TRAIN
The Nigeria Railway Corporation has commenced the operation of passengers trains from Lagos – Abeokuta – Ibadan on Monday December 7th, 2020. This newly introduced service provides fully air-conditioned train services in different categories.
The Lagos Ibadan standard gauge train affords members of the public the opportunity to leave Ibadan for Lagos at 8. 00am in the morning and return at 4.00pm same day.
“The newly introduced standard gauge trains have finally come to fruition as the service is run using newly acquired coaches and locomotives. This service is fast, convenient, safe and relatively cheap. There is an option for everyone as the tickets are available in Economy to First Class rates” Engr Jerry Oche (Railway District Manager).
“The journey time from Lagos to Ibadan is two and a half hours which makes more sense going by recent reports of traffic that has characterised Lagos Ibadan road due to ongoing road construction along that axis. Train services in Lagos is experiencing a new dawn and we are encouraging Nigerians to embrace this new service” Engr Jerry Oche.
All major rules and regulations guiding the trains remain, especially in the area of nose mask usage and hand washing practice, which are measures in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 while on-board the train.
Khadijah Aroyewun-Adekomaiya (PhD)
DPRO (LD) EBJ
24 firms bid for Lagos-Ibadan, Warri-Itakpe railway e-ticketing
A total of 24 firms have applied to manage electronic ticketing operations on two new standard gauge rail lines, Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe routes.
Eleven of those firms are for the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line while the remaining 13 are bidding for the Warri-Itakpe line on a public private partnership arrangement.
Managing Director of Nigerian Railway Corporation, Engr Fidet Okhiria, disclosed this on Monday during the opening of the bids.
Represented by Mr Niyi Alli, director of operations at the corporation, the NRC MD said four companies would be selected among the 24 firms that submitted proposals for the e-ticketing solutions, adding that two for each of the two rail lines.
He stressed that the corporation would continue to be transparent throughout the entire process.
The Director of Procurement in his address said the first part of the qualification was held Monday, opening of the bids.
“We are not evaluating today; we are just opening your submissions and ticking the papers you’ve submitted in accordance with our advert.
There will be other stages on authentication and evaluation.”
Mr Emmanuel Onwodi, director of transportation infrastructure at the ICRC said they were satisfied with the bidding process.
“We’ll choose one preferred bidder and one reserved bidder for each. Four will be chosen after the process,” he said.
Lagos-Ibadan train: NRC set to unveil e-ticketing concessionaire, gets ICRC nod
The Nigerian Railway Corporation in conjunction with the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) is set to unveil a credible concessionaire that will manage the electronic ticketing solution for Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe trains.
Ahead of the unveiling of bidders for the project on Monday November 22, the ICRC on Friday presented the Outline Business Case (OBC) certificate for the proposed e-ticketing solution for the train services to the NRC.
The OBC certificate otherwise known as the Certificate of Compliance implies that the planned Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for the e-ticketing solution is bankable and commercially viable.
Acting DG of the ICRC, Mike Ohiani, presented the certificate to the NRC Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, at a ceremony held in Lagos.
The NRC had earlier through an advertisement invited prospective bidders for the design, build, operate and transfer of e-ticketing solution for the Lagos-Ibadan and Warri-Itakpe standard gauge services.
Okhiria said the introduction of e-ticketing earlier on the Abuja-Kaduna Train Service had improved revenue generation.
He said, “Sometimes ago, we introduced the e-ticketing on Abuja-Kaduna train service and the benefits of it have been an eye-opener. And apart from the benefits to the users, the NRC and the government are also reaping from the e-ticketing.
“I am proud to say that since the introduction of the e-ticketing, the revenue has gone up drastically either by encouraging users to use the train or if there were leakages, at least, they have been blocked somehow and the fear of ticket racketeering has also reduced by introducing the e-ticketing and its technology. It cannot be perfect in one day; we are also reviewing it on a daily basis, on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis and trying to improve on what we are doing. That exercise covers Abuja-Kaduna train operation.
“Now that we have introduced new trains and we have introduced new routes, we believe we should do them separately so that we don’t put our eggs in one basket. As a result of that we approached the ICRC with a business case; it went through several reviews and we are happy today that they are officially presenting the Outline Business Case certificate that enables us to advertise the project of the secure ticketing solution.
“That would bring smiles to the people using Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri train services because at the comfort of their homes, they can plan their programmes; buy their tickets and they don’t need to come to the stations to buy tickets and it will reduce the pressure on our staff in trying to control the crowd at a particular time.”
The Acting DG of ICRC stated that there was the need to shore up the revenue of the Federal Government to justify the infrastructural revolution of President Muhammadu Buhari whom he described as an Infrastructure President.
He said, “ICRC is the agency of the Federal Government set up to midwife and drive all PPP projects in the country. We provide regulatory oversight.
“As a result of that, the NRC approached us with this project, the e-ticketing in respect of Ibadan standard gauge services and Warri-Itakpe for the e-ticketing. We want to commend the efforts of the NRC for the good job they are doing, as well as the Ministry of Transportation.
“The essence of this project, the overall scope of both projects is for design, finance, build, operate and manage secure e-ticketing solution hardware and software for passenger station in Lagos-Ibadan standard train service and Warri-Itakpe.
“The e-ticketing solution will make travelling experience for passengers very easy. As the MD has rightly stated, in the comfort of your home, you would be able to obtain tickets. It will also provide security services, in the sense that before you buy the ticket, the passengers’ luggage would have been scanned. It will provide efficiency. You know we are living in a challenging situation in order to secure all the facilities, that is part of what the e-ticketing is designed to do.
“It will also increase revenue generation through reduction of fraud, fare evasion as well as increasing fare purchase option for teeming clients. Overall the solution is proposed for a secured seamless ticketing system on the routes earlier on stated.
“The Federal Government is expected to, through the NRC, generate N12.4bn in four years for Lagos-Ibadan and N9.6bn for Warri-Itakpe within the period under review. We are here this morning to present the certificate showing that the project is bankable.
“Then we will go into the next phase. As the MD has rightly stated, starting from Monday where we will secure a credible concessionaire that would manage the e-ticketing solution. That is the essence of our being here. We want to thank you people and we want to assure Nigerians that once this project is concluded, you get efficient services. There would be improvement and no time wasting for the passengers, this we can guarantee you.”
Breaking: Reprive as railway workers call off strike
Nigerian railway workers have called off their warning strike less than 48 hours after embarking on a nationwide three-day industrial action.
The decision to end the strike was taken after the leaders of the Nigeria Railway Workers Union (NUR) and the Senior Staff Association had met in Abuja with the board of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Federal Ministry of Transportation and the NRC management.
This is contained in a communique issued on Friday jointly signed by Innocent Ajiji (for NUR), Aliyu Mainasara (SSA) and Dr Monsurat Omotayo (NRC management), a copy of which was obtained by Newstrends from the union.
Earlier, Managing Director of the NRC, Engr Fidet Okhiria, had appealed to the workers to return to work, saying their demands were receiving accelerated consideration.
Part of the resolutions is that a committee be immediately set up to review the workers’ condition of service.
It was also agreed that all train crew members should be given insurance cover along with the passengers and the goods in transit.
Okhiria said during a press conference in Lagos on Friday that the Federal Government through the National Salaries, Incomes & Wages Commission (NSIWC) had almost concluded the process of increasing the workers’ salaries.
He said, “The workers are on three-day warning strike. The management met with them several times, the board met with them and the Minister even met with them and we thought issues have been resolved, only to come back and say they are going on warning strike.
“As they are on strike, we are still discussing with them. We are working hard to make sure that they come back as soon possible. In communication, the way people understand it is different from others.
“So we are now talking to them to understand with us and understand with government and let them cut short the warning strike. Who is government? We are all government and it would not be proper, that now that the government is bringing us to limelight, we use our hands to disrupt what the government is doing.
We can see the attention railway is getting now. Six, four, five years back, that attention was not there. The attention is there because government is putting efforts to make sure railway is viable in Nigeria.
“Money is not everything. People and joy and what we provide for humanity override money. So we will work so that their welfare would be better off, for all Nigerians, not just railway workers.”
The workers had commenced the strike on Thursday, demanding an increase in salary and better welfare package. They also protested at Idu Station in Abuja on Thursday.
The NRC had earlier ordered the suspension of train services between Abuja and Kaduna, Lagos and Ibadan, and Warri due to the strike.
See the communique below
COMMUNIQUE OF RESOLUTIONS MADE AFTER THE MEETINGS WITH THE NRC BOARD IN ABUJA AND ANOTHER WITH THE FMOT, NRC MANAGEMENT, AND THE LEADERSHIP OF NUR & SSA IN IKEJA LAGOS ON FRIDAY, 19TH NOVEMBER 2021 OVER THE WORKERS’ AGITATION FOR ENHANCED SALARY REGIME; IMPROVED WELFARE, ET AL
The followings are the resolutions made between the above captioned parties:
i. a committee has been set up with immediate effect on the review of the standard condition of service with timeline lasting to the 31st day of January 2022;
ii. it has been agreed that the personal data on deceased workers be collected for processing for immediate payment as every worker is already covered by the group life assurance scheme;
iii. it has been agreed that all the train crews be given insurance cover as the train passengers and the goods in transit;
iv. enhanced salary regime has been taken up as a priority by the NRC Board and FMoT with a view to securing approval for implementation in the earliest time possible;
v. it has been agreed that no member of staff shall be victimized as a result of his/her participation in the 3-day industrial action of November 2021;
vi. by this communique and foregoing resolutions, the 3-day warning strike action is hereby suspended. Therefore, workers are hereby directed to resume work with immediate effect.
Comr. Aliyu Mainasara
Comr. Innocent L. Ajiji
Dr. Mrs. Monsurat O. Omotayo
For: NRC management
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