Senator Akanbi recommends a reduction in ticket prices for the Lagos-Ibadan rail
Commercial activities along the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line managed to start in December 2020 and it has since been faced with heavy criticism over its obviously high charges.
As of March 2021, a Lagos-Ibadan one-way ticket is between N2,500 to N6,000 and this is what Oyo politician, Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi observed when the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi visited Ibadan on March 3, 2021.
The politician who represented Oyo South senatorial district in the 8th Assembly drew the attention of the Minister to the need for government to reduce the ticket prices and also increase the number of trips daily.
Senator Akanbi’s intervention is to ensure that the good people of his state enjoy the quality and affordable railway service, but NTN looks at other ways his demands may be doing more for the Nigerian economy as a whole.
1. BOOST LOCAL ECONOMY: Senator Akanbi advised the Minister that the reduction in fare will increase the economic potential of the two states and encourage people of Oyo State to travel more by rail system.
Ibadan is the closest metropolitan city to Lagos and trade movement between both cities is responsible for the livelihood of millions of citizens and businesses in southwest Nigeria as a whole.
The high cost of travel by rail means that businesses across the region will not find it affordable and the expected reduction in the cost of goods and services will not materialize.
2. REDUCED PRESSURE ON THE ROADS: One of the expected benefits of the rail transportation is that it would reduce the pressure on the roads and consequently extend the durability of the road. However, NTN’s comparative analysis of the Lagos-Ibadan rail and road travel fare shows that a round trip on Lagos-Ibadan by road costs an average of N3,000 by bus, N6,000 by car and far less outside the bus parks.
With road travel being significantly cheaper, thousands of travelers will continue to travel by road and the result of this includes wear and tear as well as road accidents.
After the federal government has spent billions of naira on the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, it will be ridiculous if the survival of the road cannot be guaranteed with heavy duty vehicles plying it every day despite the huge investments in an alternative – rail.
3. INSPIRE FRIENDLY PRICES ACROSS NIGERIA: Senator Akanbi’s demand for the reduction in fares for his Ibadan people can trigger more of such demands in other parts of the country and this may lead to friendlier charges for other Nigerians.
Our investigations also reveal that with the prices of N3, 000 for the economy, N5, 000 for business, and N6, 000 for first class, is a replication of the charges of Abuja-Kaduna Rail Line, a distance of 190 kilometers, to Lagos-Ibadan, which is a much shorter route which seems unreasonable.
Despite the longer distance, regular users of the Abuja-Kaduna rail also believe that the rates can be cheaper.
4. IMPROVED PERCEPTION: When politicians tell themselves the truth, many times there is a greater good for them as well.
It is fast becoming a general belief that the rail transportation service is the Nigerian government’s way of creating an exclusive alternative for rich citizens who are increasingly wary of the risks of driving on the roads.
However, if the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi heeds the wise counsel of a grassroots politician like Senator Adesoji Akanbi, it will help correct some of this impression and make many south westerners rethink their view of the Lagos-Ibadan rail project as a Greek gift.
The Minister responded positively to his fellow APC man, promising that the service would increase to two daily trips before the end of the first quarter of 2021.