Train travel just got a lot better

Train travel just got a lot better

In her bid to present a rail budget with a human face, Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a slew of sops for the unorganised sector, rural poor and minority students.
The scheme for the unorganised sector, “Izzat” (dignity), would entitle people with monthly income of up to Rs 1,500 to a monthly season ticket at a paltry Rs 25 for travel up to 100 km.

“This will give lakhs of people in our country a chance to travel on rail with dignity,” the minister said.

Announcing “Yuva” trains, low-cost air-conditioned accommodation trains, the minister said these trains would be run for the benefit of youth and low-income groups from rural hinterland to metros and cities at a fare of Rs 299 upto 1,500 km and Rs 399 upto 2,500 km. A weekly service of these trains would be introduced as a pilot project within three months in Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata sectors.

The free monthly season tickets for second class travel for girls up to graduation and for boys up to 12th standard would be extended to students attending madarsa, high madarsa and senior madarsa.

Reservation locations
The budget also proposed the opening of 1000 new passenger reservation locations and the expansion of unreserved ticketing system from 5000 to 8000 locations. Automated ticket-vending machines would be installed at 200 large and medium-sized stations.
Taking ticketing to “ma maati manush” (mother, land and people), the Railway minister  said the issue of computerised tickets at post offices and mobile ticketing service vans was being considered.

“Under the MoU between the Railways and the Department of Post, passengers can now buy computerised tickets from nearly 5,000 post offices in cities and towns,” the minister said.

“I have decided to introduce mobile ticketing vans, “Mushkil Aasaan”, for issuing reserved and unreserved tickets in both rural and urban areas,” she said.
Thus poor people, who were able not to go to the stations could purchase tickets in market places, mohallas and other busy places. This year 50 such mobile vans would be launched.

Promising an inclusive growth and expansion of rail network to reach development to every corner, Banerjee said the “so-called economically  not viable but socially desired projects” would be viewed with social perspective to benefit the backward areas and the underprivileged.

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