The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has launched a N900 million e-ticketing platform which will facilitate Kaduna-Abuja railway bookings for now.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi disclosed this via a tweet on his official Twitter handle. The e-ticketing platform comes after a successful pilot testing conducted by system administrators on Thursday.
The new electronic ticketing solution has been introduced following complaints by a number of Nigerians in recent times on the difficulty in obtaining train tickets due to the strenuous manual process and racketeering among train station officials.
Recall that the NRC Managing Director, Mr. Fidet Okhiria had revealed in September last year that the corporation had reached concluding stages to deploy electronic tickets for train services across the country.
Nigerians react to
Several reactions have trailed the unveiling of the NRC e-ticketing platform across social media. At a time when many Nigerians have become used to booking trips online on tech-enabled transport service platforms including GIGM, Uber and Bolt, some people are not impressed.
Like Charles, Ken on Twitter does not see the train e-ticketing launch as an accomplishment that should be lauded.
“This should not be celebrated and published like this. The world is moving really fast for us to be bothered with a website that a teenager with coding experience can easily do.”Ken on Twitter
This goes to show that many Nigerians have grown accustomed to tech-driven solutions which the government has failed to leverage across various sectors of the economy. However, some Nigerians welcomed the e-ticketing solution as timely and called for affordable train prices to encourage patronage.
Certain people who tried using the platform reported that they were not allocated tickets after completing train trip payments online.
Bilki on Twitter said: “This thing isn’t working oh. I’ve paid for 2 tickets and my account has been debited but I keep getting messages that no tickets for date range I selected I’ve tried everything your customer care said no luck. Very frustrating.”
Perhaps the glitch could be have been caused by heavy traffic on the website following its recent launch.
According to Amaechi, the e-ticketing platform project was contracted to SecureID (SID) Solutions for an upfront payment of N900 million as part of a public-private partnership over the next 10 years.
At almost half a billion Naira, it is a huge investment by the SID group considering that train transport is not yet fully adopted by Nigerians. But SID would predictably be getting a commission on every e-ticket payment completed on the platform for the next 10 years.
Going by this, the N900 million seems like a good bargain.
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