The Indian Railways on Wednesday issued a clarification over increased train fare saying slightly higher fares for short-distance passenger trains done only to discourage people from travel which is not most necessary.
In a statement, Railways said, “Slightly higher fares only in less than 3 per cent of total trains running Covid is still around and in fact worsening in some States. Visitors from many States are being subjected to screening in other areas and discouraged to travel. Little higher price is be seen as Proactive measure of Railways to prevent crowding in trains and stop covid from spreading.”
Railways already bears significant loss in every journey by passenger. Tickets are heavily subsidised.
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Recently there have been some reports in the section of media about higher price being charged from those travelling in passenger trains over small distances.
Railways would like to inform that these slightly higher fares for passenger and other short-distance trains had been introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary. These fares are fixed at unreserved price of mail/ express trains for the same distance.
It may be recalled that Indian Railways had to stop running of regular trains due to Covid related nationwide lockdown on March 22nd, 2020 as a measure to counter the spread of coronavirus.
Railways on full resumption of passenger train services
Railways is constantly increasing the number of passenger carrying trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre Covid times, is to be considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances.
During challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 65 per cent of the Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to the pre lock down times.
Total 1250 Mail/Express, 5350 suburban services & more than 326 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.
Short distance passenger trains running presently constitute less than 3 per cent of total trains. More such trains are in the pipeline in consultation with the State Governments. Such short distance trains require interstate discussions and concurrence of all concerned.
Keeping in view the prevailing COVID situation, after introduction of Mail/Express trains, Railways is gradually operationalizing passenger trains taking all necessary precautions and making additional efforts.
Health situation of States, and the views of the State Governments, etc need to be taken in into account before getting into normal operations.
Passenger travelling highly subsidised: Railways
It may be noted that Passenger operations have always been subsidized by railways. Normally, Railways bears a loss on every journey by a passenger. Railways has been running trains in Covid times in most challenging circumstances. Many trains are being run in spite of low occupancy for the benefit of people.
Not only this, Railways has taken special care about those travelling by lowest fare in trains so that even in Covid times they bear the least burden.
In all the trains that are being run, besides other classes, the trains have a large number of 2S class coaches which have the lowest fare in the reserved category. 40 per cent of the passengers have travelled in 2S class in much better traveling conditions than pre-Covid, unreserved travelling situations.
With a view to regulate rush at stations and in trains, passenger trains are being charged slightly more fare than pre-Covid times and a close watch is being kept on its patronisation. The situation is being constantly monitored to ensure restoration of services in keeping with the protocols necessary to be followed during Covid times.
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