The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has declared that it would no longer allow passengers without face mask to board trains at every one of its stations, as it plans to commence operations on the 29th of July.
This was announced by the manager of the Abuja-Kaduna train service, Mr. Pascal Nnorli, in a statement, urging passengers to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
The NRC had paused its operations on Monday, March 23, 2020, and the board and management of the corporation had said the decision was taken in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Nnorli announced that the Corporation is 85% ready to resume operations and looking forward to the restart, as the company has been running demonstrations at its Idu station.
“You can see the social distancing marked at strategic locations. Now we have a definite date for resumption, we will complete them in all the passenger stations.
“Again, the first thing we are going to do is to decontaminate all our running stock, because we have parked them for a while, almost four months now and also decontaminate our stations and our offices, “ he said.
Mr Nnorli said seats have been selected to be used to observe social distancing laws, as the seats in business class have been reduced by 50%.
“Each row has four and we are carrying two, for the economy, each roll has five, there will be one empty seat in between two passengers.
“And again, we have declared all railway environment and facilities no mask – no entry environment,” he added.
He said stations were expecting a Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) train with up to 8 coaches and 2 heads, which would be used as the express train, adding that the additional stocks would address the problems of passenger needs.
For social distancing measures in place at the stations, he said the security infrastructure would be increased to ensure compliance from Nigerians.
“This is about life and death, it doesn’t know big man, middle man or small man, so anybody who is not willing to comply to those protocols we have set, please don’t come to our station,” he urged.
He urged that passengers obey rules of when to stop and when to move, as a strategy would be developed, and force won’t be needed to be applied, and if a passenger disobeys the rules, “we are not going to compromise on that”.