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Train Services In Nigeria Cheap, Heavily Subsidised – NRC MD

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has said it offers one of the cheapest train services in the world, adding that its current charges for rail transportation were low when compared with the value of services offered.

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Its Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr Fidet Okhiria, who disclosed this during an interview with Saturday PUNCH, also said the operations of the NRC were heavily subsidised by the Federal Government to make rail transportation affordable.

“We are operating under a heavy subsidy. That ticket you say is N5,000, if you value it, you would see that it is up to N20,000. The government still provides funding. It pays our members of staff 100 per cent because what the customer pays cannot pay salaries. So, the government is subsidising our operations.

“In Europe, it costs more to travel by rail than by air because the rail takes you from city centre to city centre; it is timely and more convenient. But we have to also meet the cost of operation halfway. The government is providing a lot of funds to make it work.

“The user should be able to contribute to it (rail transportation) else it would run down again and the benefit would be lost completely. A user has a choice of what they want to travel on, that was why we had three classes when we were designing the system,” Okhiria said.

While reacting to concerns expressed by some Nigerians over ticket cost, he explained that the NRC provided various levels of train services.

He added, “We have the VIP (class) with 24 collapsible seats in a coach and it costs N5,000 (per person). There is the executive or business class with 55 seats (two in a row) and there is another class of 86 or 88 seats (with five seats in a row), depending on one’s pocket and the convenience they want. Some are N2,500, N3,500 and N6,500, depending on the time. So, it is cheap to go by train, even if it is free, people would still complain.”