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For the first time, high-speed rail arrives in Africa
In March 2019, a video of Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi surfaced online. In it, he was seen sternly warning management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC) of the repercussions of ticket racketeering.
“The problem with Nigeria is there are no consequences for action, [if caught] you’ll be used as an example and charged to court,” the minister says in the video.
Following recent complaints of ticket racketeering and extortion, this seemed like a proactive move. But the fact that this problem has been lingering for nearly 3 years now begs the question of whether the video was more performative than anything.
Innovation gone wrong really fastExcitement had greeted the launch of Nigeria’s first high-speed rail in early 2016. The double-track, standard gauge ran between Abuja and Kaduna and commuters had grand expectations; it was going to revamp travel on that route.
But less than two years after, the system had already taken a few blows to its functionality and ticketing was one of the many anomalies.
A paper ticket on the Abuja-Kaduna railway.Bidding companies for instance were expected to have a ₦1 billion revenue base among other things. In its words, to be qualified, a company must have “verifiable evidence of financial capability with an average annual turnover of not less than ₦1 billion ($2.8 million) in the last three years (2014, 2015, 2016).”
The aforementioned report underlines the problems with that.
This article first appeared on techpoint.africa
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