Commercial transport operators are thanking their lucky stars for the surge in traffic as commuters ditch train services following bandits’ attack on the Abuja-Kaduna railway last week.
Operators say though train services have resumed at the Rigasa train station, patronage on the Kaduna-Abuja journey was still high.
Before bandits bombed the train last Wednesday, most travellers avoided the highway due to security concerns as bandits often waylay, attack and abduct road travellers. Commuters have now been forced back to the roads with the train attack.
A visit by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) to some of the motorparks within the Kaduna metropolis on Sunday showed an influx of passengers within the parks and along the highway.
The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) on Saturday resumed services for Abuja-Kaduna travelers two days after it suspended services following an explosion that affected the rail track along Rijana, a few kilometers to Kaduna.
Dogara Goni, an official of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at the Abuja park, Command junction, told NAN that the passenger turnout was in connection with the unfortunate railway incident.
“Infact, we had a shortage of vehicles so that some passengers resorted to standing along the highway to get private cars to pick them to Abuja.
The Union has cautioned drivers to desist from taking advantage of the situation to hike fares and so transportation fare still remains the same,” he added.
Sunday Abel, a driver, said as against the usual two to three trips he made daily to Abuja since Thursday last week, he makes two trips to and from Abuja.
Some of the train passengers are still afraid to make their journeys by train because of the attack.
“Much as we sympathise with the people, the development has brought additional income to our operation,” Mr Abel added.
Also, Mamman Musa, another driver, said the development made him change his route of operation from Kaduna-Kano to Kaduna-Abuja.
Abigail Gayus, a passenger at the Television park, told NAN that she is yet to resume traveling by train because of fear of kidnappers and bandits.
“Although nowhere is safe but with the last train incident, it will take a while for passengers to return to train service,” she said.
Umar Sabo, another passenger, urged the government as well as transport agencies to provide an additional fleet that would meet the increasing demand from the public.
Innocent Ujah, also a passenger, suggested that security agencies deploy additional personnel on both the roads and railways to give members of the public a sense of relief.
“Even those traveling by air are not safe until the needful is done on issues of insecurity and infrastructure,” he added