Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Train fare hike

Government decision to hike railway fare has hit many people hard. It is immaterial it was hidden in interim budget of UPA government. Now BJP is in power.
Railways Minister Sadananda Gowda said “I am merely implementing the decision taken by the previous government.” There was a circular on fare hike on 16/5/2014 which was later withdrawn. Arun Jaitley said “The Railway Minister has taken a difficult but a correct decision.”
People did not vote for BJP to implement the decision taken by the previous government. If railways were making losses why BJP members kept quiet about it during budget discussions? Dinesh Trivedi had proposed increase in railway fair. He had to quit because TMC leader Mamata Banerjee did not approve it. When his successor moved the amendment to do away with fare hike BJP did not oppose it. They did not talk of passenger safety and world class railway.
BJP promised good days. It seems a cruel joke. Prices of onion and other commodities have gone up. Train fare hike is a problem for commuters.
Long distance train fare increase is 14.2% and freight hike is 6.5%. Freight hike will result in other increase. For most people long distance train travel is once a year or so. Suburban train fare increase is 100% or more except for short distances. Commuters have to pay more than double fare.
It is one thing increase fare of long distance trains. Another thing is to increase suburban train fare. Cost of season ticket has more than doubled. For monthly passes charge is doubled from 15 single journeys to 30 single journeys. For card tickets the fare is up by 50% except for travel up to 4 km. Commuters who had to pay 280 rupees for second class monthly pass from Vasai Road to Churchgate will have to pay 645 rupees. For Andheri/Borivali/Bhayander rate has gone up from 190 rupees to 480 rupees. There is no good reason why train fare should be same from Andheri to Borivali to Bhayander. Many in Bombay and suburbs had voted for Modi. They are disappointed.
For most people long distance train travel is once a year or so. For them fare increase does not make much difference. For suburban train commuters, fare hike hits hard. The increase could have been done differently. For long distance it could have been double, for season tickets less than 50%.
Government should find ways to increase revenue without increasing train fare. Various concessions like half fare to senior citizens can be done away with. Routes that are not profitable can be shut down. During railway budgets ministers announce new trains. Many trains are to please the people of constituency or state of the minister and cause losses.

Updated: June 24, 2014 — 7:50 am

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