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Indian Railways’ earnings from sale of platform tickets dipped by 94% due to COVID-19

The low earning from platform tickets is due to restrictions imposed on entry into railway stations because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Indian Railways had restricted overcrowding at stations even before the nationwide lockdown was announced by PM Modi in March 2020.

Indian Railways’ earnings from platform tickets took a severe hit in the financial year 2020-21 with revenue from the sale of platform tickets dipping by about 94% as compared to the previous year. The low earning from platform tickets is due to restrictions imposed on entry into railway stations because of the COVID-19 crisis, according to an RTI. To an RTI query from MP-based Chandra Shekhar Gaur, the national transporter had replied that till February in 2020-21, it earned Rs 10 crore through the sale of platform tickets. In the financial year 2019-2020, Indian Railways earned Rs 160.87 crore which was the highest-earning from platform tickets in the last five years. Indian Railways had restricted overcrowding at stations even before the nationwide lockdown was announced by PM Modi in March 2020, according to a PTI report.

As the decision on the rate of platform tickets and whether to restrict entry, is empowered to the DRMs, several zonal railways completely denied entry and permitted only those with valid tickets to enter for most of the year. Later, in an effort to dissuade people from entering railway stations, it was also decided that the prices of platform tickets be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 30 and even Rs 50 in certain zones. However, the national transporter maintained that the rise in ticket prices was temporary and a measure to counter the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, revenue from the sale of platform tickets has lingered around the Rs 131 crore mark except for the year 2018-2019 when it shot up to an amount of Rs 139.20 crore. In fiscal 2019-20, it touched the mark of Rs 160 crore but dipped severely to Rs 10 crore in 2020-21 until the month of February this year.

With the easing of Covid restrictions, the Northern Railways (the largest Indian Railways’ zone) announced on Saturday that they have decided to restart the sale of platform tickets at eight major railway stations in the Delhi Division. To prevent unnecessary crowding at stations, the platform ticket prices have been enhanced to Rs 30 per ticket, it said. The eight railway stations under Delhi Division where passengers can avail of the platform ticket facility include New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Delhi Junction, Anand Vihar Terminal, Delhi Sarai Rohilla, Ghaziabad, Meerut City, and Delhi Cantt stations.

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