Nigeria government announce free train rides and cuts in commuter fares

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The Nigerian government on Wednesday announced an initiative to offer free train rides and slash transportation fares by 50 percent on luxury buses across 22 routes nationwide, in a move geared toward easing the financial strain associated with holiday travels during the Yuletide.

The government’s intervention on the cost of public transportation was to allow domestic travelers to visit their loved ones and hometowns “to do so without stress and the extra burden imposed by the high cost of transport around this period,” Dele Alake, minister of solid minerals development, said at a press briefing in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

According to Alake, who is also head of the inter-ministerial committee on presidential intervention, the discount on road transportation and free train rides will take effect from Thursday to Jan. 4, 2024.

December is usually the busiest month for travel in Nigeria, recording the highest number of air, road transport, and railway passengers.

“We also know that globally, intra-country travels and movement of people, goods, and services always peak around Christmas and end of the year because of the socio-gravitational pull of the period which transporters always cash on to increase fares astronomically,” Alake said.

The government will be working with transporters, road transport unions, and Nigerian Railway Corporation to seamlessly deliver on the presidential initiative, he said.

Also speaking at the press briefing, Minister of Transportation Sa’idu Alkali said the provision of free train rides and the substantial reduction in bus fares underscored the government’s commitment to providing practical solutions to the economic challenges faced by Nigerians, by ensuring that every Nigerian can partake in the joy of the season without the burden of exorbitant transportation costs.

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