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Income from rail passengers in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021 was estimated at N1.084 billion as against N892.46 million in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Similarly, revenue from goods/cargo in Q2 of 2021 was estumated at N71.56 million against N26.195 million in Q1 of 2021.
The total amount realised in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 from rail passengers and cargoes/goods was N2.1 billion, according to the NBS.
The report shows that 565,385 passengers travelled via rail in Q2 of 2021 as against 108,238 passenger record in Q2 of 2020 and 424,460 in Q1 of 2021.
This represents 422.35 per cent growth year-on- year and 33.20 per cent quarter-on-quarter respectively.
Among the three major revenue streams from the rail transport system (passengers, goods/cargo, and other income receipts), income from passengers has been consistently higher. This is closely followed by revenue from goods/cargo, and other income receipts.
“The reality is that some places like Abuja-Kaduna Road are no more safe by road. So, you find more passengers going via rail. You do not give yourself away to kidnappers by going through dangerous roads,” said an Abuja-based business analyst Ike Ibeabuchi.
The Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge railway was built by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and it covers a distance of 186.5 km. The railway, which has nine stations and a designed speed of 150 km per hour, links the capital city Abuja and the northwestern state of Kaduna.
A regular passenger to Kaduna via Kubwa rail station in Abuja to Rigasa station in Kaduna said, “ I have to go to the rail station as early as 8am to buy a ticket for the train leaving at 10.40am. I do not use the roads again,”Mohammed Aminu Abdusalah, who works in Court of Appeal, Kaduna, told one of our reporters.
Rail transport is becoming more popular in Nigeria. Apart from Lagos-Ibadan rail which is almost completed, Lagos-Kano standard gauge, and Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, among others, are among rails being constructed by the Federal Government.
Some middle-class and wealthy Nigerians also use air transport as insecurity on roads continues to hurt the country.