Commuters travelling short distances will have pay extra on daily and season tickets alike; hike suggested as a way to pay off World Bank loans
The New Year will bring no joy to rail commuters, as the rail authorities have decided to double the rail fare for those travelling short distance routes in local trains. This means that soon, commuters who were spending Rs 5 on a ticket will now have to spend Rs 10 for their daily ticket. The decision to hike the fare was tabled by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) as a way to pay off the loans to complete the first and second phases of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP).
On January 1, WR General Manager Hemant Kumar held a discussion on the matter. “It’s a decision that the Railway Board has taken because the MRVC has to pay off the Rs 1,613-crore and Rs 1,910-crore loans they took from the World Bank.” Interestingly, the hike will not only come into play for card tickets, but also for season tickets, whose fares will also be increased. Officials said that the hike would be termed as a surcharge. Speaking on the necessity of the hike, an MRVC official said, “We can earn Rs 40 crore annually if the fare hike is implemented and will help us repay the World Bank loans.”
However, the decision has not been welcomed by all. Members from the Bharat Merchants Chamber has written a letter asking that the decision be thought over once again before being implemented. Rajiv Singhal, DRUCC member and Trustee of Bharat Merchants Chamber said, “We have asked the GM to rethink the decision. The passengers can’t afford and won’t accept this hike. This decision goes against the common man and if they will increase the fares, then we will go to the railway board.”
Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, WR, said, “We will follow the instructions given to us by the Railway Board, as fare hikes are in their hands.”