The railways’ decision to round off fares of suburban tickets to the nearest multiple of five has met with strong opposition from passenger associations, consumer activists and political parties. Terming this revision as unjustified, these groups have now demanded that railway reconsiders its decision.
“There must be an immediate rollback of both the fare hike and the decision to round off fares to the nearest multiple of five,” said Shailendra Kamble, activist with the Democratic Youth Federation of India (FYFI).
Citizen activists were irked at the prospect of having to pay extra for tickets, over and above the hiked fares. “As per the new rule, Rs. 11 will be rounded off to Rs. 15? Why should the passenger pay 25 % extra?” said AV Shenoy, consumer activist.
On Wednesday, the railway has announced a hike in suburban fare by 2 and 3 paise a kilometre respectively, for second and first class commute.
“Fare hikes should be in concurrence to facilities provided to commuters. Railway is levying surcharges and increasing fare, but fails to provide clean urinals to passengers at stations,” said Dattatraya Godbole, activist of Suburban Rail Pravasi Mahasangh.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former railway minister for state Ram Naik state said, “Unlike long-distance commuters who travel four-five times a year, suburban commuters do not have a way out as they use local trains everyday.”