Bansal signals reform, raises railway fares
Fares had remained unchanged since 2001-02 under populist ministers Lalu Prasad and Mamata Banerjee until Dinesh Trivedi proposed increases in 2012 — a decision that cost him his job, followed by a rollback in all classes except the most expensive AC First Class, Executive Class and 2 Tier, and First Class.
Bansal’s unusual move, made less than two months before he is scheduled to present his first budget, indicated the gravity of the crisis, which the minister said was having a “telling effect” on the Railways’ finances.
The new fares will be applicable from the midnight of January 21-22. Passengers who have already bought tickets will have to pay the balance on the train.
General and Sleeper class fares will go up by 2-4 paise and 6 paise respectively per kilometre of travel. An AC 3 Tier ticket, popular among the middle class, will cost 10 paise more per kilometre.
First Class, AC First Class and AC 2 Tier fares will go up by 3 paise, 10 paise and 6 paise respectively for every kilometre of travel. Last year’s railway budget had raised fares in these classes by 10 paise, 15 paise and 30 paise respectively per kilometre; fares have now been raised a second time in nine months.
The lowest suburban fare will now be Rs 5 instead of Rs 3. All fares across the board will