Train travel will burn a big hole in pockets

 Forty-five-year-old Sanjay, who was to visit his native village in Odisha, along with his wife and two children at the end of the month, is extremely stressed.

He had chalked out the entire budget for the 10-day trip and booked four tickets to Bhubaneswar, but with the railway fares going up by a steep 14.2 per cent, he is trying to rejig the trip expenses and make last-minute adjustments.

Sanjay is not alone. Thousands of daily commuters, weekly passengers and even holiday makers have been hit hard by the hike in railway fares.

Further, commuters complain that railway infrastructure is grossly inadequate and that there has been little or no improvement to upgrade the existing facilities.

As per the hike in fares announced by the railways, which will be enforced from Wednesday, there is a flat hike of 10 per cent in fares of all classes, besides another hike of 4.2 per cent on account of Fuel Adjustment Charges (FAC).

Subhash P, a native of Gulbarga who works in Bangalore and visits his hometown once in two months, said: “I used to pay about Rs 1,900 to travel first class, but now I believe, with the new fares, I will have to shell out Rs 2,300-2,400 for the same travel. Whereas, all these years, facilities at the railway stations and even in the trains, be it first class, have hardly improved.

The trains are not cleaned properly, the quality of food is compromised and the stations look anything but clean. If the government is passing on the burden to the public, it should also ensure that services improve.”

Rohini Ghai, a resident of Kammanahalli, originally from Delhi, said: “Travelling from Bangalore to Delhi via the Rajdhani Express will be costlier than travelling by air. The worst part is that even in trains like the Rajdhani Express, safety or security is not guaranteed.

To be honest, there are no safety measures in Indian trains. Moreover, the journeys are tedious and backbreaking, while other developing countries have trains which travel at 200-250 miles per hour.”

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