After more than two years, the coast is getting clearer for the implementation of the electronic ticketing solutions for the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), Daily Trust can report.
The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) last week issued a "Certificate of no Objection" on the project.
Daily Trust reports that the NRC had in August 2017 started the process of implementing the electronic ticketing system for its operations nationwide by advertising for companies to apply for the ticketing contract and over 1000 companies applied.
The contractors expressed interest for 'Designing, Development, Deployment and Management of Secure Ticketing Solution on an investment basis for the NRC Rail Services'.
Twelve companies were prequalified (shortlisted) having met the requirements prescribed by the corporation while few preferred bidders have since been selected.
However the process was stalled following the intervention of the ICRC, the Federal Government's agency supervising public private partnership (PPP) projects involving government agencies.
The NRC later submitted to the demand of the ICRC to supervise the concession process after which the commission gave its nod.
Currently, the NRC runs train services across the country including the highly patronized Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge service, the Lagos-Kano express train, and passenger services within Lagos and Ogun axis, among others.
It was also designed to end the ticket racketeering allegation rocking the operation of the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge line which is patronized by many Nigerians.
Daily Trust reports that the e-ticketing system, when operational, would enable passengers purchase tickets online as obtained with airline booking.
The NRC Director of Procurement, Mr. Ben Iloanusi, whose unit is in charge of the project in an interview with Daily Trust confirmed that ICRC last week presented the certificate thereby clearing the coast for the implementation of the e-ticketing solutions.
NRC Managing Director Engr. Fidet Okhiria had restated the commitment of the corporation to introduce the electronic ticketing solutions to address the reported racketeering.
Daily Trust reports that on a daily basis, passengers using the Abuja-Kaduna train complain of ticket racketeering alleging that tickets are sold to the highest bidders.
One Kelechi Deca in a Facebook status update lamented that "getting a train ticket at the Idu station, Abuja is harder than a camel passing through the eye of a needle."
When contacted, yesterday, NRC MD said the corporation had written a memo to the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who would present the proposal to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval.
"It is after the FEC approval that we will now discuss the financials," he said in a chat with our correspondent.