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Nigerian Railway Corporation to begin e-ticketing from November 1

By Paul Emeka Chimodo

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) plans to launch an e-ticketing system for its standard gauge network starting on November 1. Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of NRC, announced this during a recent interview. The e-ticketing system represents a significant leap forward in modernising and streamlining rail transportation across Nigeria.

The final testing phase for the platform is on track to be completed on Wednesday, October 25. Initially, the e-ticketing system will be accessible to a select group for last-minute assessments before its public release. This phased approach is intended to ensure a smooth and secure transition to the new system.

One of the key highlights of the new system is its capability to direct ticket sales revenue directly into the government’s coffers. By doing so, it significantly reduces the potential for corruption and revenue leakage, a crucial step in improving the integrity and efficiency of the railway system.

More on the e-ticketing launch

The e-ticketing system will first be deployed on the Abuja-Kaduna route, addressing existing challenges where passengers had to physically visit train stations to purchase tickets. With e-ticketing, travellers will have the convenience of procuring train tickets at least 48 hours before their planned departure from the comfort of their homes or offices.

The adoption of e-ticketing has already seen successful implementation on the Abuja-Kaduna route and is expected to roll out on the Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri lines by the end of November.

In addition to the new system, Fidet Okhiria disclosed the dismissal of staff members caught on camera collecting fares for train rides in Ibadan on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge. This was in line with the recommendation of a disciplinary committee investigating the matter. These actions were taken in accordance with the corporation’s established rules and regulations, serving as a deterrent to other staff members.

Okhiria further revealed plans to increase the train speed on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge route from its current 40 kilometres per hour to 80 kilometres per hour. He emphasised the importance of safety and adherence to safety protocols, cautioning against activities like trading or playing on the railway tracks due to the upgraded speed.

The introduction of e-ticketing promises to reduce human interference, streamline revenue collection, and limit the exposure of passengers to staff attempting to manipulate fare rates. Access to the online ticket system will become available to the general public following the initial restricted phase.

Nigerian Railway Modernization Plan

In a broader context, rail transportation is becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria, and the NRC’s adoption of e-ticketing is a significant step towards making rail travel more convenient and efficient for the country’s population.

While specific details of the latest system’s operation are still forthcoming, it is expected to provide multiple points of purchase, including mobile devices, designated outlets, and train stations, mirroring successful models from countries like India and Bangladesh.

The NRC’s move towards e-ticketing aligns with the growing demand for modern, accessible, and efficient transportation options in Nigeria. The NRC also has plans to expand train services to various states, with the goal of promoting intra-city train operations and making train travel more accessible to a wider population.

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