By IBRAHIM SHEME
This budget is for the noisy, crowded and stuffy economy class. First class? Forget it, unless you’re among the first few on the ticket queue or were born with a silver spoon!
Also, I assume that you’re going to the station using public transport, especially a cab. OK, if you have a car, calculate the cost of the fuel and what you will “dash” your driver. Remember that the fuel to burn is to and fro – because the driver has to go back after dropping you and may get caught up in traffic. Note, also, the distance to and from the station; the designers of this thing called Abuja–Kaduna light rail (I wonder just why it had to be light in this supersonic age when other countries are going for heavy) have ensured that the three stations are far from your house, unless of course if you live in Abuja’s Kubwa area or Kaduna’s Rigasa quarters. Considering all the wahala each presents to the commuter, I’d rather call them “the three stations of the cross!”
1. Fare or fuel to station — N1, 000 –N2, 000
2. Ticket cost — N1,300 or N1,500 (depends on time of the day)
3. “Dash” (tip) to the station staff who helped you buy the ticket — N1k or N2k. But if you’re on the queue on time, you can buy the ticket on the counter by yourself
4. “Dash” to the boy who carried your bag to the seat in the couch, especially at the Idu station — N500–N1k
5. Fare or fuel to your destination after arrival — N1k–N2k
5. Cost of stress – Unknown
6. Cost of time wasted on the trip – Unknown
Now, do your own maths to arrive at the total cost. And whilst doing so, think about these:
A. The actual cost of the ticket is N1, 300 or N1, 500 for the economy class. (The coveted but somewhat elusive first-class ticket is N2,500 or N3k, depending on time of the day.)
B. The journey by road is less than 2 hours, but by train it can be 3–4 hours from the time you leave home to the time you reach your destination (but that includes the time you spend to reach the station, to obtain a ticket and to wait for the departure of the train).
I must quickly warn, however, that the journey by road, while cheaper in contrast, has since become accursed due to a spate of kidnappings, forcing most of us to troop to the train stations where passengers look like Jews boarding the train for the concentration camps in Nazi Germany.
Sheme writes from Abuja