In its first fare hike in five years, the railways announced an increase in passenger charges that will see ticket prices rise by Rs.55-60 if you travel between Delhi and Mumbai or Kolkata on a Rajdhani from Wednesday. However, suburban train fares were not touched.
Though the fare increase is modest, in the range of 1-4 paise per km for different classes of travellers, the railways expects to generate about Rs.2,300-crore additional annual revenue at a time when its finances are under acute stress.
A hike had become pressing considering revenue shortfall during this fiscal (up to November-end) was close to Rs.20,000 crore. The operating ratio increased to 121% till November-end during the current fiscal as compared to 113% in the same period in 2018-19. Operating ratio is the amount spent to earn Rs.100, a higher ratio indicating poor financial health. However, suburban passengers and season ticket holders have been excluded from the hike.
With nearly two-thirds of the passenger traffic accounted for by suburban rail, the segment accounts for a large share of losses for the state transporter.
Those who have already pre-booked the tickets won’t have to pay extra. “Long- distance passengers travel more occasionally and since the hike is minimal, it won’t pinch them in a big way,” said a railway ministry official. The railways claimed suburban passengers have been left out, keeping the “affordability concerns of daily commuters”.
According to a statement, the increase in fare per km is 1 paisa for ordinary non-suburban classes (second class ordinary, sleeper class ordinary, first class ordinary) and 2 paise for mail/ express trains in non-AC class (second class mail/ express, sleeper class mail/ express, first class mail/ express).
The hike for all AC tickets across trains will be 4 paise per km applicable for Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto, Vande Bharat, Tejas, Garib Rath, Antodaya and Jan Shatabdi trains.