Passengers boarding the Lagos-Ibadan free train rides have expressed excitement at the reliability of the train services, demanding for an increase in coaches so as to have more passengers on board.
When newsmen visited the Agbado train station where the free train departs Lagos daily for Ibadan every 4pm, it was observed that the available coaches can only carry 40 passengers, thereby leaving passengers jostling for seat space anytime the train is set to leave Lagos for Ibadan.
Speaking to newsmen, a passenger, Alhaja Idayatu Oshogbayi lauded the free train ride and the cosy environment onboard the trains.
According to Alhaja Oshogbayi, “The free train ride is an eye-opener for many of us who traverse Lagos and Ibadan almost on a daily basis. For me, I never for once thought travelling between Lagos to Ibadan could be this comfortable.
“The air conditioners are working perfectly and the sitting arrangement is orderly. The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) have really revolutionised train services in Nigeria with this set of coaches; how I wish they can increase the capacity of passengers per trip.
“Anytime I want to travel, I have to come very early, sometimes as early as 1pm for a train that will leave by 4pm because if I come late, I am sure not to get any seat onboard due to limited sitting arrangement. The train can only take 40 passengers, and the officials of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) won’t exceed that figure. So many times, people are left behind due to the limited sitting arrangement.”
In a separate chat with newsmen, another passenger, Lateef Yaqub urged the Federal Government to increase numbers of coaches on the free daily train service because the current 40 passengers per trip are too low compared to the numbers of people that throng the Agbado train station.
“We hope they can increase the coaches because I have missed the trains many times due to the fact that it has a limited sitting arrangement. It can only carry 40 passengers and I work late in my place of work, so I have had to miss the trip on a few occasions,” Yaqub told newsmen.
Reacting to the call for more coaches, the CCECC Project Manager for the Lagos-Ibadan rail, Engineer Xia Lijun revealed that two new Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) have just arrived, and could be deployed to the Lagos-Ibadan train services depending on Federal Government approval.
In his words, “The good news, for now, is that two DMUs for the standard gauge rail has arrived.
“By the grace of God, if we are lucky, we will use those two new DMUs in our next ministerial inspection. Their deployment will be subject to the Minister’s directive, whether we use both here, on the Lagos-Ibadan rail or we deploy one for the Abuja-Kaduna rail services.”