e-Ticketing on NRC passenger trains underway
Barring any hitches any hitches along the line, the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) will commence e-ticketing for passenger train services by August and September this year for those travelling public keen on enjoying its services.
While making this known recently, Fidet Okhiria, managing director of the NRC said that so far, nine companies bidded for the cost to build solution for the project.
He noted that with this development, prospective customers can make bookings for ticket to enjoy train services. Tenders were signed last two weeks by all the bidders involved at the headquarters of the NRC, Ebute-Metta, Lagos.
Some of the companies that bidded according to Okhiria are: Turn Around Engineering Limited, Secure ID Limited, Catamaran Nigeria Ltd, Soft Alliance and Resources Ltd, Nexant/Innovea Backbone Connectivity Network Nigeria Ltd, First Index Project and Services Ltd and Euphoria Press Ltd.
The NRC managing director also disclosed that the test run of the ineffective 32 year-old Itakpe -Warri Standard gauge railway line will commence soon preparatory to commencement of full train service in that axis.
He also disclosed that the Nigerian Railway Corporation will from next month or September commence movement of fuel from Lagos to Dagbolu, near Oshogbo in Osun state.
Meanwhile, at the global front, there are very strong indications that the digital revolution will soon affect rail operations at a station and ticketing level.
This was stated by Enrico Trapazzo, Trenitalia passenger affairs deputy director at Africa Rail, held in Johannesburg recently. Trenitalia is an Italian rail and mobility group.
When this is affected, barrier-less ticketing will enable passengers to walk straight through a station and directly onto a train without using a ticket of smart card.
The WiFi based system proposes connecting passengers’ smartphones to the rail station’s WiFi network, which will automatically recognise where and when they got on and off the train, creating ‘live’ tickets for each journey.
Using a special account on an app, passengers will be charged for the journey they have selected. They will also be able to track their journeys in real time, or look over their previous journeys in the app.
It is also expected that personal bots will replace ticket counters and websites, which are more than 20 years old. An Internet bot is an application that performs an automated task.
Rather than passengers going to a ticket counter or website, entering their details and searching for tickets and services, a personal bot will be able to book tickets on their behalf.
This bot will also be able to tell customers if there are any major disruptions on the railway and help plan other routes if there are any available.
Another innovation is flexible tickets which allow passengers to select a range of times they are available to travel, instead of having to select a fixed time.
Instant refunds would also be possible for passengers affected by delays, seeking compensation, through a mobile phone system called ‘c2c Automatic Repay’.
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