NEW DELHI: Days after Railway Board Chairman V K Yadav indicated rationalisation of fares to enhance revenue, the cost of passenger tickets went up a tad with immediate effect. It was certainly not a New Year’s gift, as fares were jacked up from 1 to 4 paise per km in all categories except suburban sections and season tickets. Yadav though received the gift of an extension of tenure by a year.
Hiking railway passenger fares has never been popular, which is why governments often opt to do it before the general budget, which is generally populist. For passengers travelling in ordinary non-AC classes, the increase is 1 paisa per km. Fares for Mail/Express non-AC classes will go up by 2 paise per km and for AC classes by 4 paise per km. A back-of-the-envelope calculation for the Delhi-Kolkata Rajdhani Express, which covers a distance of 1,447 km, suggests the hike for a passenger from Delhi to Kolkata would be around Rs 58 (1,447 X 4 paise).
The fare hike will make the problem of attracting passengers that much more difficult for the Railways, which is already facing a serious challenge from budget air carriers. The increase in fares will apply for tickets bought on or after January 1. No difference of fare will be charged from passengers who booked their tickets before January 1. The last fare revision was done in 2014-15 when passenger fare was raised by 14.2 per cent and freight by 6.5 per cent.
At a glance
Ordinary non-AC 1 paisa per km
Mail/Exp Non-AC 2 paise per km
AC classes 4 paise per km