The new rail passenger fares, hiked on January 9, will come into effect from Wednesday, with the minimum fare now being pegged on a par with the platform ticket — Rs. 5.
Passengers who booked their tickets in advance will have to shell out the difference to the ticket inspectors aboard the train. Fares will be rounded off to multiples of Rs. 5.
The hike is up to 40 per cent, which affects some long distance travellers even in the case of unreserved second class and reserved sleeper class tickets. Both these classes had escaped the price hike net due to pressure from the Trinamool Congress in the budget proposals for 2012-13.
The flat increase in base fares linked to each km travelled has, for instance, pushed the fare up for those travelling between Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram in the second class to Rs. 445, up from Rs. 321, for a close to 40 per cent additional burden, and in the sleeper class the additional expense goes up to 35 per cent, with passengers having to pay Rs. 745 now as against Rs. 559.
However, fares for these two classes have been raised for the first time in over 10 years. Other charges will be levied separately.
Freight rates untouched
The hike in air conditioned coaches has been hiked for the second time in a bid to raise money for meeting the daily working expenses of the Railways. During the current year, the Railways hope to get additional revenue of Rs. 1,200 crore. On an annual basis, the fare hike is expected to yield Rs. 6,600 crore for the Railways additionally under the passenger segment.
The Railways left the freight sector untouched this time as it had been raised substantially earlier.