… Says Nigeria will be linked by rail, plans to train staff on Customer Relations***
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has reiterated the importance of the 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 in an interview with the newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
”E-ticketing is the way to go.
Also read: NRC suspends 8 a.m. train ride
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 for 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 the 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 has been put in place, things will be better; And we are taking security issues at the very highest level.
In the same vein, the Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Mr Fidet Okhiria, has expressed hope that the country, within the next five to 10 years would be linked by rail.
Okhiria told the newsmen on Sunday that this would be achieved in line with the determination and will of the present administration.
He added that the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi was also making endless and tireless efforts to ensure the country’s rail network was expanded to better serve Nigerians.
”I think in five years we will be hoping that somebody can leave Lagos and get to Abuja within eight hours by rail.
”We have several projects on the eastern axis, and all those contracts have been signed but the finance people are looking for the funds to ensure the contractors move to sight.
”We also have the contract from Calabar to Lagos, the coastal rail, we also have the Itape-Warri, being completed to link from Itape to Abuja.
”So if you link Itape to Abuja, it means people can leave Warri to Kano because the Kano-Kaduna is presently ongoing, formation is being put in place and with the timeline, we are hoping that by December this year the track would have been laid.
”Also the eastern line has an expansion that when it gets to Benin it will come to Agbor, Agbor to Onitsha , Onitsha to Awka, Awka to Enugu and to Abakaliki.
”And we also have plans to link the deep sea in River State and then link Owerri and come back to Enugu. And from Damaturu we also do the one going to Maiduguri, we just hope that the economy improves and we’re able to get funding,” Okhiria said.
On the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), he said the country could benefit largely from the agreement with the correct policies and programmes.
He said: ”If we champion the market and we are able to extend, so that we have road, rail, the economy can move smoothly and you have an easy rating of goods and services.
”And with rail being the cheapest means and the safest way to go about it, I think we are on the right part.”
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) said one of its cardinal programmes for 2022 was to train its staff on customer relations.
Mr Fidet Okhiria, NRC’s Managing Director, disclosed this in an interview with the newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.
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.
At 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 admitted to that university,” Okhiria said.
The NRC boss, however, said the kickoff of the University also depended on the collaboration of the ministry and that of the Ministry of Education, to ensure that appropriate standards were maintained.