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Published On: Mon, Sep 6th, 2021

Why Travelers May Stop Using Warri-Itakpe Train Service

LAGOS SEPTEMBER 6TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Hundreds of passengers who travel with the Warri-Itakpe Train Service (WITS) have expressed displeasure in using the train service and said they might be forced to stop using the service.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the travellers lamented the recent increase in cost of using the WITS and analysed the inconveniences of using the service against the rising cost of using the service.
Recall that the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) in August hiked the cost of travelling along the WITS routes.
Findings by TNG reveals that the cost of train from Itakpe to Ujevwu in Warri, which started at N1,900.00 has been increased to N2200, and more recently to N3,000.00.
Passengers, who travel to Warri, compared the rising cost and inconveniences of using the WITS to travelling with God is Good (GIG) motors, and said they might be forced to revert to road transport or other means to travel to Warri.
One of the aggrieved passengers, Mrs Ijeoma Okonkwo, a nursing mother, who spoke with a TNG reporter aboard the train, expressed her view and that of many other passengers.
“With the recent increase in train fare, if NRC continues to increase fare, gradually the Warri-Itakpe Train Service will start to lose customers and by extension, revenue. This is why.
“God is Good to Warri from Utako, Abuja is N12,000.00 or thereabout. Meanwhile, transporters are taking advantage of the patronage to increase the fare to get to Itakpe so much that to get to Itakpe before you board the train is now about N4,000.00.
“The train fare has been increased to N5,000.00 for first class (FC) and N3,000.00 for standard class (SC); add the inconveniences of getting to Itakpe from Abuja, while you can just conveniently get to Utako to board GIG.
“In addition, granted the WITS now operates a double schedule, there is no way passengers can meet up with the 8 am schedule travelling from Abuja. This means travelling at 2:45 pm, passengers get to Warri late, when they can get to Warri earlier using GIG. Not to add the inconveniences and cost of leaving Agbarho or Ujevwu to PTI Junction or Effurun Roundabout.
“More also, returning to Abuja from Warri, transporters at Itakpe have increased fare from there to Jabi. Sometimes, you pay as high as N4,000.00 to get to Jabi. The increase in fare by NRC and transporters will degrade the use of the WITS.
“For the WITS to continue to stay relevant, the government must put one and two together before ever considering increasing fare for the WITS.
“Also, the government should consider linking the WITS to the federal capital territory (FCT) to remove the inconveniences of having to travel to Itakpe before using this service.
“If not, the WITS will start to lose passengers and by extension, revenue,” Mrs Okonkwo said.
TNG reports NRC hike in fare also affected passengers who usually travelled from Itakpe to Uromi at the cost of N1050 but now being made to cough out N1600. Other stops within the route were also affected.
Meanwhile, the NRC had said the rail sector of the transportation industry generates an average of N327 million monthly.
The Managing Director of NRC, Fidet Okhiria, who made this known, said the WITS, which began commercial operations on October 9, 2020 generates an average of N45 million.
Okhiria said the Abuja-Kaduna route generates an average of N265 million, while the Lagos-Ibadan generates N17 million.
The Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri runs from the southern oil hub of Warri near the Atlantic coast northwards into the major iron ore producing region in Kogi.
The single-track project, built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari alongside the ancillary facilities yard at the recently named Goodluck Jonathan Railway Complex in Agbor, Delta.

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