The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has reiterated the importance of e-ticketing platform in the purchasing of tickets across the country, saying it’s the way to go.
Mr Fidet Okhiria, NRC’s Managing Director, made this known on Sunday in Abuja.
”E-ticketing is the way to go. We have started and we have made significant progress in Kaduna -Abuja train service and we are also working on the Itape-Warri and Lagos-Ibadan and it is at a very advanced stage.
“I think the next stage is closing by next Monday. With the ICRC (Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission) guiding us, I think we hope to deliver that very soon; maybe by March. The e-ticketing will be introduced on the other routes except the narrow gauge.
”With the e-ticketing, interactions with people will reduce, you buy your ticket and you don’t have any reason to interact with anybody and with the ticket you can have access to the train.
”Right now in Abuja, that frequent trouble that we used to have has gone down, but being who we are, people still try to find a way not to use the electronic platform.
”They will come and meet staff and approach people who they think may have tickets to sell to them and yet they will be shouting ticket racketeering.
”So, we think the electronic platform is the way to go and we want to encourage Nigerians on that.
On security, Okhiria explained that a lot of measures had been put in place to ensure safety of lives and the train.
He said: ”We have a lot of DSS who are working un-noticed and most of the time we have information before hand and we pass it to the appropriate quarters.
“We have increased the number of people we have on the train both the Civil Defense, the Police both uniform and non-uniformed, those armed and not armed.
”You cannot guarantee everything, but we are hoping that with what have been put in place, things will be better; And we are taking security issues at the very highest level.
Okhiria commended NRC staff for maintaining high discipline when carrying out their responsibilities.
He however said more training especially in customer relations was necessary to help the staff relate more and better with customers/passengers.
”An average railway person compared to other areas are much disciplined and we try to maintain that. However we are still going for massive training on customer relations and that is one of our cardinal programmes for this year.
”So now that we are modernising, we have to train our people on how to relate with not just the average Nigerian but the masses.
”They need to know how to talk to people without offending them and not also bringing themself down in the process.
”So, it is one of the cardinal programmes we are doing this year to train our people on customer relations.
”So, as we meet a lot of people and people with different characters/ expectations, we will be equipped with the right approach on how to go about them and meet their expectations.
On Daura Transport University, Okhiria explained that work was still in progress, adding that all things being equal, the project could be completed and admission would commence in 2022.
”It is going down well, the minister is going there again to see how far they have gone, I am hoping this year admission will also start.
”Don’t forget, 150 people have been sent abroad to be trained who will be the trainees trainer that will come in with the foreign partners to kick start the University.
”So, I think we are on the right path and hope to achieve this very soon. Hopefully this year, there will be admission in that university,” Okhiria said.
The NRC boss, however, said the kick off of the University also depended on collaboration of the ministry and that of the Ministry of Education, to ensure that appropriate standards were maintained.