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Passengers, operators call for restructuring of Kaduna railway station

 Passengers and operators at the Kaduna Railway station, Rigasa on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to expand the facility at the station and restructure its operation for improved service delivery.

The passengers and operators, who spoke to a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on board the train from Kaduna to Abuja, expressed displeasure on the service offered at the train station.

A passenger, Mrs Mary Kazure lamented that the extent at which passengers were made to queue for more than three hours before they could buy ticket to board was `ridiculous and alarming’.

“In Abuja station, you buy your ticket immediately you arrive at the station but in Kaduna, you will queue for hours before the operators start selling tickets.

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“Even when they start selling, you will see that people who are not on the queue are getting tickets before those who have been on queue for hours.

“This is because they are ready to buy from some of the railway station’s staff at higher prices,” she said.

Another passenger, Mallam Bala Mustapha expressed regret that the queue does not exclude the aged, pregnant women and children who also have to stand for hours.

“This is even in the midst of the shortage of waiting seats,’’ the passenger said.

Bala said it was better that the practice of selling tickets on arrival at the Abuja station be replicated at the Kaduna station.

Ms Zara Danladi, also complained that the time schedule for the train shuttle should be minimised to two hours instead of almost four hours, to reduce crowd.

Danladi said this was necessary because the rate of kidnap and insecurity along the Kaduna -Abuja road had forced many passengers to travel by train, thereby congesting the station.

“Despite that the train charges N1, 500 for the economy class and above N3, 000 for the first class to Abuja which is more expensive when compared to the vehicles that charge about N1, 200, people still prefer to travel by train because of their safety,” she said.

NAN correspondent however observed that the train which has nine coaches with 88 passengers capacity each, still accommodates over 100 passengers, as some stand throughout the journey at the same rate of N1, 500.

Also, air conditioners and television screens on most of the coaches are not functioning, while most of the toilets are in a bad state.

A senior staff at the ticketing point whose name was undisclosed, when approached by NAN on the development, said the operators were helpless with the situation.

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“Tell the authorities to come and build the type of structure in the Abuja railway stations here in Kaduna.

“There is nothing we can do about the situation because we are serving passengers going to both Idu and Kubwa stations in Abuja from here with the available facility.

“So, we cannot manage the crowd like the two Abuja stations with bigger structures,’’ the ticketing staff said. (NAN)