The route for the Pragati Express was changed in July and it now goes via Panvel and therefore, passengers will now have to either take a separate railway pass or pay for a ticket.
While current pass holders can still use the other inter-city shuttle services, only those seeking to commute on the Pragati Express need to upgrade. Earlier, the monthly pass was applicable to all Pune-Mumbai-Pune shuttle trains like Sinhagad, Pragati, Deccan Queen and Indrayani.
With Pragati being excluded from this list, commuters are facing some inconvenience.
The Panvel route was done on an experimental basis, but after 10 days, Central Railway decided to make it a permanent feature.
“The railway is not giving permission to use monthly pass for the Pragati, which is creating a lot of inconvenience. The first train from Pune to Mumbai is the Sinhagad Express, which departs on 6.05 am.
If one misses this train, then the next option is the Pragati, which departs at 7.15 am. But most of the regular commuters who are holding the monthly pass cannot go by Pragati,” said Harsha Shaha, Pune Pravasi Group.
According to YK Singh, public relation officer, Pune Railway Division, rules of the railway department Monthly Season Ticket is applicable for a journey of 150 km or less. The distance between Pune-CST is 192 km. But considering special cases, Central Railway had altered the rule and made monthly passes applicable for Pune-Mumbai trains for Pune-Lonvala-Karjat-Kalyan-Thane-Dadar-CST routes.