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Nigeria eases holiday travel costs with free train rides and bus fare reductions

Commuters alight at the Marina Station of Lagos Blue Line rail during the inauguration of commercial operation of the mass transit in Lagos on September 4, 2023   -  
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In a bid to alleviate the financial strain associated with holiday travels, the Nigerian government has introduced measures to provide relief to its citizens during the festive season. The announcement, made on Wednesday, includes free train rides and a 50% reduction in public bus fares across the country.

Dele Alake, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development and head of the inter-ministerial committee on presidential intervention, emphasized that the initiative aims to enable domestic travelers to visit their loved ones and hometowns "without stress and the extra burden imposed by the high cost of transport around this period." The move is seen as a gesture to enhance the well-being of citizens during the festive season.

The discounted inter-state fares and complimentary train rides, slated to be in effect from December 21 to January 4, are part of a collaborative effort with companies operating luxury buses across 22 routes nationwide. President Bola Tinubu has given his approval to this initiative, which notably focuses on the masses, as highlighted by Mr. Alake.

Transport Minister Sa'idu Alkali expressed the government's commitment to ensuring that the substantial reduction in bus fares and the provision of free train rides will allow "every Nigerian to partake in the joy of the season without the burden of exorbitant transportation costs." This move is poised to make holiday travel more accessible and affordable for the general population.

Segun Falade, the spokesperson for the National Union of Road Transport Workers, confirmed that bus operators would adhere to the agreed-upon fare subsidy, as reported by local media. This collaborative effort between the government and transportation stakeholders aims to ease the financial strain on citizens during what is traditionally the busiest month for travel in Nigeria, with the highest number of air, road transport, and railway passengers recorded in December.

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