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NRC’s worthless N900m ticketing App

I want to first of all commend the federal government for its commitment in revamping railway services across the country. Such services are bound to assist…

I want to first of all commend the federal government for its commitment in revamping railway services across the country. Such services are bound to assist the socioeconomic development of the country.

Most travellers using Abuja-Kaduna road were happy when news filtered out that the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has spent a whooping N900 million in developing and acquiring a software application that would enable passengers to book tickets online. The App is also expected to checkmate ticket racketeering, exploitation and hoarding.

But my recent experience only proved otherwise, to the extent that I have started seeing the expensive App (NRC has not denied the cost of the App to date to the best of my knowledge) as a worthless N900 million App.

Travellers using the train are in agreement that the App is not user friendly, as expensive as it is. The App has a lot of dummies and NRC did not make any effort to save ordinary Nigerians from being defrauded. Even those who were able to download the App on their devices find it difficult to book as the App most often indicates that the trains are fully booked, only for one to see almost an empty train on departure. This is purely economic sabotage.

The ticket racketeering, exploitation and hoarding that the App is expected to checkmate have only been exacerbated where ticket of N3,000 goes for N6,000 for the Economic Class while VIP Class goes for up to N10,000.

The App surely does not address the usual tendency derisively referred to as `Nigerian factor’’ which is embedded in our attitude. There is also a noticeable decline in patronage due to these systemic frustrations brought to bear on the travellers as well as loss of huge revenue for a project that promises to be a very good source of income to the government.

While the federal government is putting in concerted efforts in revamping train services to regain its past glory in Nigeria and with some travellers trying to avoid the bad roads undergoing reconstruction and the high level security uncertainties along Abuja–Kaduna Express Way, the NRC cannot afford to have these teething corrupt tendencies continuously.

The NRC management and policy makers must look inward and explore relevant solutions for a corruption-free train service.

 

Abdulrahman M. Alfa, Badarawa Kaduna