Train fares to rise by 1.6% in UK – Newstrends
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Train fares to rise by 1.6% in UK



Host and hostesses of the new Lagos-Ibadan train

Train fares are expected to increase by 1.6 per cent in January next year in the United Kingdom as successive governments link annual rises to July’s inflation rate.

BBC quotes Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris as saying the rise reflects “unprecedented taxpayer support” for rail this year.

But unions said the rise was a “kick in the teeth” for passengers.

An average increase of 2.6 per cent across all fares will still be the lowest since 2017, and it will only last nine months, until the end of 2021.

Had the rise come in January it would have equated to a 1.95% jump across the whole year.

Until 28 February season tickets holders can renew at existing prices and the cost of daily fares will stay the same.

‘Keeping services running’

Rail travel has been badly hit during the coronavirus crisis, and Mr Heaton-Harris said delaying the price rise from January “ensures passengers who need to travel have a better deal this year”.

Regulated fares make up about half of fares and include season tickets on most commuter routes. But operators are expected to match their rises for unregulated fares.

It means, for example, a Brighton-to-London annual season ticket going up by about £129 to £5,109, and a Manchester-to-Glasgow off-peak return rising by £2.30 to £90.60.

Government to cut £1bn from rail budget

The rail minister said, “By setting fares sensibly, and with the lowest actual increase for four years, we are ensuring that taxpayers are not overburdened for their unprecedented contribution, ensuring investment is focused on keeping vital services running and protecting frontline jobs.”

The government took over rail franchise agreements from train operators in March, following the collapse in demand for travel caused by the virus crisis. This is expected to have cost about £10bn by mid-2021.

The rise would help recover some of the significantly increased costs met by taxpayers to keep services running during the pandemic, Heaton-Harris said.

Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators, acknowledged that “passengers will be disappointed” about the fares rise, adding that “governments must ultimately decide the balance between how much fare payers and taxpayers pay to run the railway”.

She added that industry remained committed to working with the government to make the fares and ticketing system easier to use.

The department has written to all operators telling them to begin immediate work on developing flexible season tickets, allowing people who travel two or three days a week to save money compared with buying daily tickets. Firms have been told these must be introduced across England by the end of next year.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of consumer watchdog Transport Focus, said, “This fare increase makes it even more important that, when travel restrictions start to be lifted, the industry is able to attract people back by offering fares that match how we know people hope to live, work and travel in future.”

Union leaders condemned the rise, with Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staff Association calling it a “kick in the teeth for passengers”.

He said, “Ministers are well aware that millions have suffered this year with the uncertainty of employment, a changing picture on furlough provision, pay cuts, wages freezes and lost jobs. So, to reach for a hike in fares of this size is both extortionate and plain daft.”

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said ticket prices are being “forced up to subsidise private profit. The time is right for a publicly owned railway system that delivers reasonable fares for our people as the public and the economy tries to recover and shake off the COVID crisis next year.”


Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride



Finally, Port Harcourt-Aba train service begins with four-day free ride

A four-day free train ride from Port Harcourt in Rivers State to Aba, Abia State will begin today, May 1, signifying commencement of rail service along the 62-kilometre route.
This is coming a month after the train operation on the rehabilitated narrow gauge track was initially meant to start.
Minister of Transportation, Senator Saidu Alkali, inaugurated the rail service in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.

Alkali said the project was part of the rehabilitation of 1,443km Port Harcourt to Maiduguri narrow gauge rail line.

He said that the Port Harcourt to Aba section of the project was the initial part of the Eastern narrow-gauge railway, aiming to connect five geopolitical zones of the country.

He said, “The Federal Government is pleased to inaugurate the train service from Port Harcourt to Aba, a key priority area of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
“We are grateful to God for the completion of the Port Harcourt to Aba section, which will bring succour to the people.
“The Eastern narrow gauge covers five geo-political zones of the country, including South-South, South-East, North-Central, North- West, and North-East,” he said.
Aba to Enugu rail is next
Alkali said following the completion of the first segment and the start of commercial operations of the rail service, the Federal Government would soon commence the construction of the Aba to Enugu rail project, linking the two states together.
He added that his ministry was working with investors to ensure the conversion of the locomotive across the country from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further.
“Shortly, we will take a train ride from Port Harcourt to Aba, which means that from today, passenger train service has commenced.
“We will continue the project from Aba to Enugu and from Port Harcourt to both Onne and Port Harcourt seaports for freight services.
“The ministry is currently in discussion with an investor to convert our locomotive from diesel to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to reduce transportation costs further,” he said.
The minister assured Nigerians that arrangements were being made with security agencies to ensure adequate security along the rail routes.
He also announced free train rides from Port Harcourt to Aba between May 1 to May 4.
“The train will depart from Port Harcourt to Aba at 8am daily, while it will leave Aba to Port Harcourt at 3pm daily.
“Full commercial operations will resume on May 7, 2024,” he said.

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Our medical team tried to rescue policeman who died on Abuja-Kaduna train – NRC 



Our medical team tried to rescue policeman who died on Abuja-Kaduna train – NRC 


The Nigerian Railway Corporation has reacted to the death of policemen while on escort duty aboard the Abuja-Kaduna train on April 5, saying the deceased received medical attention on the train.

It said this in a statement on Tuesday.

The police escort attached to the train was said to have died on the train conveying passengers from Kaduna to Abuja last Thursday.

The police officer reportedly complained of chest pain before he collapsed and died.

Some have accused the NRC of not having medical personnel on board.

But the NRC said there was a medical doctor on duty on the train when the incident happened.

It disclosed that the official was also assisted by a passenger, also a medical practitioner.

The statement read in part, “The NRC management wishes to emphatically inform the general public that we have well trained medical personnel and equipped medical cubicle to attend to any emergency health challenges of our esteemed passengers.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the medical personnel on duty was Mariam Abdulai who was assisted by a good Samaritan medical practitioner that happens to be our passenger on board to revive the ailing cop but was in futility.

“The management of the NRC expresses its heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family of the late police inspector, Nambut Selbol, who was escort on duty in Abuja – Kaduna train service on that fateful day.”

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Abuja metro rail 97% ready, says Wike after 30-minute ride



Wike in 30-min ride on Abuja metro train, says it’s 97% ready

Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, on Friday undertook a 30-minute ride on the Abuja metro train after an inspection of the intra-city rail project.

The train ride was done after an inspection tour from the Metro Station in Central Area to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

He disclosed that the Rail Mass Transit (ART) project was 97 per cent ready.

Wike President Bola Tinubu would be happy to commission the Abuja Rail Mass Transit project in May.

The minister described the development as a “dream comes true”.

He said the project would be ready for inauguration to celebrate Tinubu’s one year in office.

Wike said Tinubu had approved the schedule for the inauguration of projects in the FCT.

The minister said, “We are very happy. We are almost 97 per cent completed. All works are ongoing to make sure that the May delivery date is a reality.

“I believe this is one of the projects Mr President would like to inaugurate, because it is very key to the development of the economy.

“For me, it is a dream come true, and we are happy that after all said and done, the metro line will be put to use for Nigerians, come May 29″.

After the test ride from the Metro Station to the Airport, the minister declared that it would be more convenient to use the train than vehicles to go to the airport.

He added, “I am really impressed with the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

“The company has assured us that all the renovation works on the stations will be ready before the commissioning date.”

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