Passenger ticket cheaper than platform passes
Whenever Satyendra Dubey, a local resident, goes to receive or see off his guest at the Patna junction, he prefers to buy an ordinary ticket to Danapur, which costs him Rs 2. If he was to buy a platform ticket, it would be 150 per cent more which comes to Rs 5.
The platform ticket price was revised from Rs 3 to Rs 5 and it came into effect since April.
Dubey now not only saves Rs 3 but he suggests others too to follow him, as there is nothing illegal. Now, you can have an ordinary ticket (for Rs 2) and still roam around on platforms for the entire day.
When Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee issued a diktat to Railway Minister Mukul Roy not to increase passenger fares of sleeper class or ordinary class/unreserved compartments, hardly would have she imagined that her decree would give rise to this kind of anomaly.
During the presentation of the Railway Budget, the fares of ordinary class were initially proposed for a nominal hike. But after a brouhaha by the Trinamool chief (and later replacement of the Railway Minister), the fares of sleeper class and unreserved compartments were eventually left untouched. However, the fare of platform tickets was raised from Rs 3 to Rs 5.
Normally, the fare of the nearest railway station from the originating point is more or less equivalent to the price of a platform ticket. But with the new fare of platform ticket coming into effect from April, and the unreserved ticket fare untouched, a huge gap (percentage wise) between the two fares has been bleeding the railways white.
According to a rough estimate, nearly 60,000 to 70,000 commuters traverse through various platforms on Patna junction everyday. But the sale of platform tickets remains abysmally low. Just 7,000 tickets (approx) are sold daily, which comes to around 10 per cent of the people who go up to the platform.
“Why should they buy a platform ticket for Rs 5 when a ordinary train ticket from Patna to Danapur / Punpun / Gulzarbagh / Phulwarisharif / Parsa Bazaar is just Rs 2. And between Patna and Bihta/Fatuha, it is just Rs 4. In either case, they can save a few bucks,” a senior officer of the East Central Railway (ECR), who did not wish to be identified, told Deccan Herald here on Friday.