The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) is set to launch an electronic ticketing system for its standard gauge network commencing November 1, according to an announcement by Fidet Okhiria, the Managing Director of NRC. This initiative signifies a significant stride in the modernization and streamlining of rail transport in Nigeria.
The final phase of testing for this electronic platform is on track to conclude on October 25, after which it will be initially available to a select group for last-minute evaluations before its public launch. This phased approach is designed to ensure a seamless and secure transition to the new ticketing system.
A major highlight of this new system is its ability to channel ticket sales revenue directly into the government’s treasury. This move serves to markedly reduce the potential for corruption and financial leakage, a critical step in enhancing the integrity and efficiency of the railway system.
Further Insights into the E-ticketing Launch
The e-ticketing system will debut on the Abuja-Kaduna route, addressing the existing inconvenience where passengers were required to physically visit train stations to purchase tickets. With e-ticketing, travelers can conveniently acquire train tickets at least 48 hours prior to their planned departure, right from the comfort of their homes or offices.
The adoption of e-ticketing has already demonstrated success on the Abuja-Kaduna route and is anticipated to roll out on the Lagos-Ibadan and Itakpe-Warri lines by the end of November.
Additionally, Fidet Okhiria shared the news of the dismissal of staff members who were caught on camera collecting fares for train rides in Ibadan on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge. This action was in line with the recommendations of a disciplinary committee investigating the matter, and it serves as a clear warning to other staff members about adhering to the corporation’s established rules and regulations.
Okhiria also disclosed plans to increase the train speed on the Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge route from the current 40 kilometers per hour to 80 kilometers per hour, with a strong emphasis on safety and adherence to safety protocols. Activities such as trading or playing on the railway tracks are discouraged due to the upgraded speed.
The introduction of e-ticketing holds the promise of reducing human interference, streamlining revenue collection, and minimizing passengers’ exposure to staff attempting to manipulate fare rates. The online ticket system will become accessible to the general public following the initial restricted phase.
Nigerian Railway Modernization Plan
In a broader perspective, rail transportation is gaining popularity in Nigeria, and the NRC’s adoption of e-ticketing is a significant move toward making rail travel more convenient and efficient for the country’s residents.
While specific operational details of the new system are forthcoming, it is expected to offer multiple points of purchase, including mobile devices, designated outlets, and train stations, following successful models from countries like India and Bangladesh.
The NRC’s shift towards e-ticketing aligns with the growing demand for modern, accessible, and efficient transportation options in Nigeria. Furthermore, the NRC has plans to expand train services to various states, with the aim of promoting intra-city train operations and making train travel more accessible to a broader population.