Officials at the Rigasa Railway Station of the Abuja-Kaduna train lines have been accused of hoarding tickets from intending purchasers, thereby subjecting them to unnecessary hardship.
THISDAY checks at the station yesterday revealed an ugly situation where ticket sellers were heavily involved in racketeering. It met a chaotic scene when it visited the station as passengers who queued up were later seen running helter-skelter trying to obtain the ticket.
A particular staff in charge of tickets, Mr. Nabasa, allegedly left intending purchasers who were on queue to personally sell tickets to those he felt could afford it at a high price to the amazement of everyone.
The situation at Rigasa, according to a passenger, has shown that the much talked-about change by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has not yielded any results.
A particular passenger who agreed to speak to THISDAY after some subtle persuasion, said the best solution to ticket racketeering was the introduction of online purchases.
According to him, “My name is Jemilu Dabo, a staff of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), I came here (train station) around 12:30p.m. “Actually I joined the queue but, unfortunately I was told that the ticket was finished. But I have to call someone to be able to get one at a higher price.”
He added: “The person I called is a staff of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), and he is here at the Rigasa Rail Station. I gave him about N3,000 for me and my friend for the standard class as against the normal price of N1,050. And he immediately gave me the same ticket he said was finished.”
He said: “My suggestion is that the federal government should introduce the online ticketing just the same way you book for flights. The introduction of online ticketing will go a long way to reduce bureaucracy and hoarding on the part of the management as well as enhance speedy services thereby saving passengers unnecessary hardship of joining the queue in an attempt to obtain the ticket.
“Though the online could affect those who cannot read or write, however, for those who have the capability for online, he or she can ease their problem of coming to join the queue.”
He however, said some people may not like the idea and some people may not know even how to book online, adding that “there should also be more publicity like advertising on Radio and television as well as social media.”
On the security situation at the train station, Dabo said: “There is no adequate security to curtail the chaotic situation at the station especially when obtaining tickets. Government should improve the security at the train station.”
Also, Mr. Muhammed Kebir Ibrahim, who was on his way to Abuja from Kebbi State, called for automation of tickets to avoid racketeering.
He told THISDAY that if need be “the government should engage consultants or a financial institution to handle the sales of tickets to avoid financial leakages.”
Continuing, he said: “If a status quo must be maintained, a law should be in place to discourage any operational staff from engaging in ticket selling.”
Similarly, the Police Officers attached to the Abuja-Kaduna train lines, who bare their minds on the state of things, complained about lack of being motivated by the management of the NRC.
Meanwhile, the coach from Rigasa station in Kaduna to Abuja broke down at the Rijana station due to mechanical fault, THISDAY also learnt.
– This Day