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'Something is Being Thought About it': Railway Board Hints at Hike in Fare of Passenger Trains

News18.com

Last Updated: December 27, 2019, 09:02 IST

Representative image.

Representative image.

This proposed hike has been presented before Rail Minister Piyush Goyal through multiple ‘scenarios’ such as sparing the lower classes; different hike slabs for different classes and a per-kilometre hike, among other things.

The government is considering a hike in fares of passenger trains before the end of this financial year, the Indian Express reported.

Without divulging any details, Railways Board chairman VK Yadav said on Thursday that “something is being thought about”.

Yadav spelled out government’s plan for ‘rationalisation’ of the Railways but said that the ministry is not considering a hike in freight rates.

“We are going to rationalise both fare and freight. Freight rates are already very high so I don’t think we will be raising freight rates… in fact, we need to rationalise freight rates… to bring down logistics cost,” Indian Express quoted Yadav.

A proposal to raise passenger fares has been in the pipeline for months now as the railway industry faces an acute financial crunch.

However, Railways Board spokesperson RD Bajpai dismissed all speculation and said there is no proposal to hike fares.

“Rationalisation of fare is a thought, which does not mean that fares will be increased, it may decrease also,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.

If the change in rates is implemented, it could probably result in a hike of around 10 per cent, the report said.

This proposed hike has been presented before Rail Minister Piyush Goyal through multiple ‘scenarios’ such as sparing the lower classes; different hike slabs for different classes and a per-kilometre hike, among other things.

The change in fare will come at a time when the Railways has failed to earn sufficient non-fare revenue despite several attempts from the PMO to revive the industry over the past six years.

The last hike in 2014 was a 14.2 per cent increase in fares and 6.6 per cent in freight rates — and was approved by the outgoing UPA government during its last days in office.

Even then, following protests by the then BJP ally Shiv Sena, the hike in suburban fares was rolled back for travel up to 80 km.

first published:December 27, 2019, 09:01 IST
last updated:December 27, 2019, 09:02 IST