By Yemi Adeleye
The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) on Tuesday said that capacity had remained the major challenge facing the operation of the Lagos-Ogun Mass Transit Train Services (MTTS).
The Lagos Railway District Manager, Mr Jerry Oche, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Oche said that the Federal Government was working hard to increase the rolling stocks to meet the demand by commuters.
He spoke against the backdrop of congestion of MTTS observed by a NAN correspondent who monitored the service.
He said that the corporation was not resting on its oars to meet the demand of the teeming commuters in the state.
“Our biggest challenge right now is capacity.
“To start with the MTT (Mass Transit Trains) as it is, when we look at our statistics, we are doing extra 50 to 60 passengers per coach. That, for me is not good.
“If we have extra 50 people per coach in a train; that is congestion. You can imagine how people will stand.
“This is a big issue and that is why we introduced second train. That will not solve our problem but it will reduce our problem,” Oche said.
He noted that excess passengers on trains would not give room for comfort and the ticket checkers would not be able to move round and check those who might have boarded the train without tickets.
He said that since the resumption of operations after the break, there had been many applications for freight services.
“We are trying to see how to hit the ground running without messing up our time table because we want to work strictly with our time table,” he said.
Oche noted that the Federal Government was working hard to increase capacity for both passengers’ trains and freight services.
He said that train remained the cheapest and most comfortable means of transportation.
He said that the demand for train services had been higher but the corporation was working to meet the demand.
Oche said: “Don’t forget before we shut down in September 2019, we were doing three trips and we were doing DMUs (Diesel Multiple Units) train.
“We resumed with just one trip and we just added the second one. Definitely there will be congestion.
“We are ready for the freight shuttle and we are ready for the passengers’ trains.’’
He said that the corporation was putting necessary machinery in motion to ensure that the Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) commence operations soon.
NAN reports that the NRC resumed operations on Jan. 23 with one-return-trip daily after about four months of suspension of work to fast track the completion of the new standard gauge.
The corporation on Feb. 19 added another train to increase the number of trains in its MTTS to two daily to reduce congestion that has been characterising the MTTS. (NAN)