Even with introduction of more coaches and additional train schedules, ticket racketeering is still going on in both Idu and Rigasa train stations. There is collusion between ticket officers and tauts who used to buy the first class tickets in advance for intending travellers.
Go there two hours to the time and they will tell you first class has finished. Meanwhile the passengers who booked the tickets are nowhere to be found until the train is about leaving.
Sometimes last year, Minister of transport Rotimi Amaechi sacked all the tickets officers and station managers because of ticket racketeering.
It seems he needs to carry the exercise again. You can’t beat Nigerians with their wicked ways and quick desire to make money.
The minister needs to impose very stringent measures of checking this fraud. First he already understood that racketeering is a product of excess demand over supply.
With new coaches and more schedule trips, that has been sorted out, but it does not cover first class tickets where demand is still higher than supply.
Demand for first class will only reduce by two measures. Either to increase first class coaches or hike the price such that only people with means could afford it.
First class anywhere is for people with money to burn,the government should make it five times the price of economy class, as obtained in the airline business.
What is left is public enlightenment to passengers not to buy tickets from middlemen to help the system serve them better.
Another way is not to allow advanced booking, tickets must be sold to people with ID cards and they must carry details of intending travellers, especially phone numbers.
Any one with additional suggestions on how to improve the system should make it available so that we can make a written presentation to the minister for implementation.
By Aliyu Nuhu