Residents leaving within the Warri-Itakpe region in Delta and Kogi are eagerly anticipating the commencement of full commercial operations of the rail line.
The Coordinator, Warri- Itakpe Train Service, Mr Sanni Abdulganiyu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Abdulganiyu said that some residents had been making enquiry on when they would begin to enjoy the services of the rail.
“The people are anticipating on when we will commence operations as the roads are bad now due to the rainy season.
“The bad roads make them to spend more hours on the road before getting to their destinations, so they want to travel by train.
“And, because of this issue of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we cannot operate.
“We are discussing with Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) right now on resumption and as soon as we conclude and they give us a go ahead, we will commence operations,” he said.
On the cost of transport, the coordinator said before the COVID-19, it was submitted that N2,400 would be charged per train ride but that would not be the case anymore.
According to him, due to the COVID-19, the price will be reviewed but that will not come from here but from the headquarters.
On safety measures to curtail the spread of the virus, Abdulganiyu said the officials would ensure all guidelines were strictly adhered to by passengers and operators.
“Part of the measures we will ensure is that you cannot be on the train without your face mask, it is mandatory that you wear your face mask all through the journey.
“It is mandatory that as you are entering the station, you will use soap to wash/sanitise your hands, we will take your temperature and as you are entering the train another set of people will repeat the same process.
“We are trying to see how we can limit the movement on the train so passengers can seat with their face mask on all through the journey,” Abdulganiyu added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had said the price of transportation on the train would be doubled due to the COVID-19 guidelines.
“This is because each coach takes 88 passengers but we will reduce it to 40 and the price will increase but we will need to talk to the President before we move on.
“And, everybody must obey the COVD-19 rules of three metres distance, which is the reason why the number of passengers will be reduced from 88 per coach to 40.
“Everybody must come with his own hand sanitizer, government won’t buy for you and it has to have minimum of 90 per cent alcohol. Next thing is that you must come with your face mask without which you won’t enter.
“If you enter and bring it down, we will stop and you will come down even if it is in the bush. We will increase the presence of police for the enforcement of law and order in all the coaches.
“The implication is that when you enter the coach with your face mask and remove it, we will stop, you will come down or put back the mask and if you don’t, we will not move.
“Either other passengers force you to wear it or the police will force you, no matter how big you are,” Amaechi said.