Mumbaikars cry foul as rail fare hike increases expenses

Jun 24, 2014, 08:18 IST | Vedika Chaubey, Kartikeya Jain and Shashank Rao

mid-day spoke to three families residing on each of Central, Western and Harbour lines to gauge how they are coping with the sudden and huge hike in railway fare

Mumbaikars are still reeling from the huge hike in rail fares which were announced by the government recently. Families are breaking their heads over how to adjust their monthly expenses so as to account for the steep hike. Many lined up at ticket counters to grab yearly and half-yearly passes to save on thousands of rupees.

Also read: How Mumbaikars can beat the railway fare hike

But there are many who will have to make other arrangements to ensure they can still travel by the city’s most used mode of public transport and not eat into their savings. mid-day spoke to three such families on each of the three lines Western, Central and Harbour lines.

Western line
Name: Monesh Kamble (27), Nallasopara
Works as: Marketing professional
Stays with: Grandmother, mother, wife and two-year-old daughter
Monthly income: Rs 8,000

Kamble (27) is the sole earning member of a family of five, including him. He works in marketing at a company at Charni Road. “As I work as a marketing staffer, I have to travel a lot and I use the local train only. The increased fares have stressed me out a lot,” said Kamble, adding that he would have to make sacrifices to ensure his family isn’t affected.

“I will start walking to and from the station. This is how I will manage the hike,” he added. Kamble paid R280 for quarterly passes, but will now have to fork out double the amount. He would buy season passes for all routes, as his job entailed frequent travel to all corners of the city. “Now I will only buy a single-route pass, and buy tickets at other places. It is difficult for me to manage; I don’t know how I will do it,” he rued.

Central line
Name: Jagdish Shankar Bansode (35), Titwala
Stays with: Wife and
7-year-old son
Works as: Salesman
Monthly income: Rs 7,000

Jagdish Bansode sells housekeeping goods door-to-door, and hence, has to travel throughout the city regularly. He uses all three lines, and would buy a monthly pass from Titwala to CST and CST to Borivli. “I sometimes have to buy tickets for other places which costs me around Rs 100 extra,” he said.

Bansode fears that a major portion of his income will be spent on travellingBansode fears that a major portion of his income will be spent on travelling

“Earlier, I paid Rs 525 for my season pass, but it is really going to be tough for me to manage my expenses. My job requires traveling all around the city, and a major chunk of my income will now go into commuting costs. The fare hike has left me with nothing except worries” added Bansode.

Bansode earns his bread with daily income based on his sales and feels hard done by, with the government’s announcement of the fare hike. He plans to cut down on his customer visits and walk as much as he can to cope with the fare hike.

Also read: BJP fears hike will end its dreams of ruling state

Harbour line
Name: Bijoy Singh (53), Kharghar
Stays with: Wife, son, daughter
Works as: Musician
Monthly income: Rs 20,000

53-year-old Bijoy Singh, who resides in Kharghar with his family of four, is in a dilemma. “This is going to be a big burden on us. I am a musician by profession and I have to travel to both Western and Harbour line for my classes.

Bijoy Singh’s family will not take auto rickshaws to save money
Bijoy Singh’s family will not take auto rickshaws to save money

The two-way pass, with double the price now, is a scary prospect. My son and daughter also travel to Churchgate every day to Jai Hind College,” said Singh.

His wife Chitra (51) is a housewife. The family plans to tighten the noose on their expenses to manage their finances. “We will control our spending and avoid auto rickshaws,” added Singh, fearing the fact even vegetables would now be more expensive with the rail fare hike.

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