Pay 14.2 pc more for train travel

Freight rates also up in pre-Budget hike

Pay 14.2 pc more for train travel

In the first indication of tough measures that Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned of a few days ago to revive the economy, the Central  government on Friday effected a steep pre-budget hike in railway passenger fares and freight rates.

From June 25, rail passenger fares will increase by 14.2 per cent on basic fare across the board and freight rates by 6.5 per cent, the cash-starved Railways Ministry said in a statement. The last fare hike was in October 2013.

“While a flat 10 per cent hike has been effected for all classes, an additional 4.2 per cent increase under fuel adjustment component (FAC)-linked revision scheme will be effected on passenger fares, taking the upward revision to 14.2 per cent,” an official said. 

For freight, a flat 5 per cent increase and an additional increase of 1.4 per cent on account of FAC, which was due since April 2014, will take effect. The overall increase in freight rates will be 6.5 per cent approximately for major commodities.  

The revised fares will also apply to tickets issued in advance for journeys to commence on or after June 25 (i.e. 0000 hours of June 25). The difference in fares and other charges will be recovered either by TTEs on the trains or by the Booking/Reservation Offices before the commencement of journey by passengers.

The decision will see second class monthly season ticket (MST) fares of suburban and non-suburban trains being charged on the basis of 30 single journeys instead of approximately 15 single journeys.

Fares of first class monthly season tickets will go up by four times the second class monthly season ticket (MST) fares.  

Revised fares shall also be applicable as per the existing method of computation of quarterly season tickets (QST), half yearly season tickets (HST) and yearly season tickets (YST).

The fare hike comes ahead of the Rail Budget 2014 to be presented by Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda next month, drawing sharp criticism from the Opposition parties.

Gowda said the government was only giving effect to the May 16 hike announced by the previous UPA government on the day of the Lok Sabha election results, which was then put on hold. The then railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge had directed the Railway Board to leave the decision on the hike to the new government.

Currently, the Railways is facing a severe financial crunch with subsidy on passenger fares touching a whopping Rs 26,000 crore. It needs a huge investment to upgrade its signalling system and strengthen the tracks to prevent accidents.

The hike in fares would help the Railways mop up around Rs 8,000 crore in one year. On an average, the estimated loss is around Rs 900 crore a month in passenger segment due to hike in input costs, including diesel. 

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