By John Igbinosun
Have you ever taken a train ride? Well, I haven’t and I have actually always dreamt of doing so someday. I had heard the one in Abuja was kind of cool and got really excited when this dear and awesome user of the service contacted me to share his experience on this.
I don’t know how many people typically do this, but I hope the little exposé through the conversation I had with him would help inform intending train users what to look out for whenever they decide to use the service.
How long have you been in Abuja?
For about 3 years.
How did you first hear of the train service?
On the news during its official commissioning
What was your experience like the first time?
It was actually a smooth ride and was running at its scheduled time.
Where did you go using the train?
Kubwa station, Abuja to Rigasa station in Kaduna
How many times have you used the service?
4 times now.
Were you scared the first time?
Yes I was, very scared.
What was your major fright?
Fear of train hijackers. (Laughs Out Loud)
What do think needs to be improved?
Addition of new coaches and discouraging the chartering of these coaches by the Rich to give room for more passengers to purchase tickets.
Also a specified number of tickets need to be allotted to each train station to avoid passengers getting stranded.
Tell me about your last experience that made you contact us
I was at the Kubwa Train Station at 6.15am on the 8th of December, 2017 to purchase tickets to board the 7.20am train ride to Rigasa Station in Kaduna State. Upon arrival, we were informed that there were no more tickets for sale, reason being that the train was already fully booked from the Idu station. So apparently, either some rich Northerner travelling home for the weekend had chartered a whole coach or all Idu station passengers got tickets and only about 20 Kubwa passengers got tickets. (Sighs)
What is your recommendation for the government?
It’s a train with only about 3 or 4 coaches and with the growing demand due to its comfort levels and accessibility, more coaches need to be added. Also, assigning a particular number of tickets to each station is very important so as to show equality and non-bias. Finally, the wealthy need to be discouraged from chartering seats and coaches just for comfort and leaving a larger portion of the public discomforted and stranded.
While we deeply appreciate John Omosun for coming forward to share this experience, it is so vital to note that the fundamental issues that we always speak of when it comes to challenges with service delivery in the country are still very much trending.
Note the key thing he said about chattering the train!!! Like seriously for a service meant to serve all and sundry. That is a practice that should be critically frowned at.
I hope this gets out there, enough for more well-meaning citizens speak up and speak right about correct use of public services.
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