Rail transport passengers declined by 53.65% in Q1 2023


Kaduna-bound passengers being screened at the Idu railway station, Abuja..fwThe National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed that rail transportation passengers declined by 53.65 per cent from 953,099 in the first quarter of 2022 to 441,725 in the first quarter of 2023,

This was disclosed by the National Bureau of Statistics, on Tuesday in its just-released Rail Transport report for Q1 ’23.

The statistics body added that a total of 59,966 tonnes of goods were transported in the first quarter of 2023, compared to 39,379 tonnes reported in the same quarter of 2022.

In terms of revenue generation, N768.44 million was received from passengers over the period, a decrease of 63.02 per cent relative to N2.08 billion in the same quarter of the previous year.

“Similarly, N181.27 million was collected in Q1 2023 as revenue from goods/cargos, up by 99.28% from N90.96 million received in Q1 2022.

“In addition, other receipts amounted to N34.17 million, indicating a decline of 41.02% in Q1 2023, from the N57.92 million collected in Q1 2022.”

Following the terrorist attack on the train that occurred on March 28th, 2022, train trips were temporarily suspended on the Abuja to Kaduna corridor.

However, the corporation resumed services on the corridor in December 2022 with only two trips available.

In January this year, the PUNCH reported that the Abuja-Kaduna train detailed in Kubwa led to a reduction in trips on the rail corridor.

In the same month, it was reported that passengers waiting to board a train from the Igueben station in Igueben Local Government Area of Edo State to Warri in Delta State were kidnapped by suspected herdsmen.

Reacting, a Professor of Economics at the University of Ibadan, Prof Adeola Adenikinju, said several factors are responsible for the decline in patronage of rail services in some parts of Nigeria.

He stated that, firstly, the suspension of rail services in some parts of the country due to security concerns has made some travellers move to other transportation modes.

Prof. Adenikinju said the improvement in road conditions and enhanced security on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has led some travellers to abandon rail transport in favour of road transport. This is because many now see road transportation as safer and more comfortable.

He said,” I would suggest the following reasons: Security concerns led to the suspension of rail services in parts of the country, which also made some travellers shift to other transportation modes. Improvements in road conditions and improved security on the Lagos Ibadan expressway also led some travellers to shift from the rail to the road.

“The long travel time on some of the routes, as well as lack of flexibility in booking for the use of the train. Travellers have to pay cash and can only purchase tickets on-site. You can not buy online, and payment is only by cash, at least on the Lagos Ibadan axis.”

Also, a Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sheriffdeen Tella, said,” It’s being affected by insecurities, the cost of transportation, i.e., fare compared with other modes, and maintenance of the facilities, i.e., maintaining a standard of operation.”

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