Junior railways minister Raosaheb Patil Danve announced a 50% reduction in single fares in airconditioned suburban trains.
An in-principle decision to reduce AC train fares was taken last October after a presentation was made to the railway minister but a formal decision was awaited. “The decision was taken at a meeting held with Ashwini Vaishnav (railways minister) on Thursday,” said Danve.
Comfortable air-conditioned rides in the city debuted between Churchgate and Virar on the Western Railway corridor on December 25, 2017. Years later, the suburban service infamous for its “super dense crush load” is yet to see good crowds in the AC trains. In March, the average daily ridership was 15,354 for WR’s 20 AC services.
CR began running AC locals on its main line between CSMT and Kalyan from March 16, 2020, and on the trans-harbour route in Navi Mumbai 15 days later. Due to poor response, the trans-harbour AC rakes were withdrawn and pressed into main line service two years later. The 44 AC services on the main line enjoys a daily ridership of 17,000, and 16 on the Harbour line about 2,400 daily. High fares were not the only reason for the poor response to AC trains: poor frequency came a close second.
Commuters welcomed the fare cut but want the railways to create more awareness about the AC train timetable.
The fare cut has come at the right time for commuters.