Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi journey to become costlier up to Rs.406

Commuters will have to pay Rs.124 to Rs. 406 more for travelling between New Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram on mail/ express, Rajdhani and mixed Duronto trains from January 21 when new rail fares come into effect.

As per the hike in fares announced by Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Banswal, the second class fare in mail/ express trains in the 3,062-km Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi sector will go up from Rs.321 to Rs.445 and the sleeper class fare from Rs.559 to Rs.745.

The air-conditioned three-tier fare will go up from Rs.1,573 to Rs.1,885, air-conditioned two-tier from Rs.2,646 to Rs.2,835 and air-conditioned first class from Rs.4,642 to Rs.4,955.

In the case of Rajdhani Express, the fare in the New Delhi- Ernakulam sector will go up from Rs.5,193 to Rs.5,599 for an air-conditioned first class ticket. For an air-conditioned two-tier ticket, the hike will be Rs.267 as the new fare is Rs. 3,228. The fare for an air-conditioned three-tier ticket has been hiked from Rs.1,804 to Rs.2,156 with the variation being Rs.352.

The new fare for an air-conditioned first class ticket in the mixed Duronto train on the New Delhi-Ernakulam sector will be Rs.5,263 (variation Rs.304), Rs.3,119 for air-conditioned two-tier ticket, and Rs.2,066 for air-conditioned three-tier ticket. The sleeper class fare has gone up from Rs.627 to Rs. 817.

Keralites employed in metros and other cities will face the impact the most as the fare hike is for per km travelled. The migrant labour population from West Bengal and the North-East will also be affected.

General secretary of the Railway Passenger Association, Thrissur, P. Krishnakumar said the decision to hike the fares though a delayed one was inevitable taking into account the financial situation of Railways.

“The train fares are cheap compared to bus fares in the State. They should have done it earlier rather than waiting for a decade. The ground has been set for the tariff regulatory authority to act and fix the rail fares,” he said.

Former Chairman of the Railway Board M.N. Prasad told The Hindu that Railways had to maintain financial viability . Railways no more had the liberty to incur loss and the time had come for them to plough in more money, he added.

Describing the hike inevitable, a top rail official said it would have a cascading effect. It had come when the passenger segment loss was projected to touch Rs.25,000 crore in the current fiscal and when attempts were on to overcome funds crunch that had threatened modernisation and expansion.

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