Suburban commuters would now have to shell out more money for their railway tickets. The railway ministry has decided to levy additional MUTP (Mumbai Urban Transport Project) surcharge --- levied to repay World Bank loans--- for the next 20 years.
The hike, which was supposed to be levied in 2006 and 2009, will come into effect from January 1. As a result suburban commuters would have to shell out an extra Rs. 2 for card tickets and an extra Rs. 20 and Rs. 40 for second and first class season’s tickets respectively.
The surcharge may be hiked further, if Railway and State government undertakes proposed third phase of Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-III).
“Suburban railway commuters will have to pay hiked MUTP-surcharge till 2030-31, as decided while sanctioning MUTP-II in 2008,” said a senior railway official.
However, he added that there won’t be any further hike in MUTP surcharge till 2030.
But, a further hike in MUTP surcharge is probable if state government and railways decide to undertake the proposed Rs. 30,000-crore MUTP-III, to improve suburban connectivity in MMR.
According to railway sources, the MUTP surcharge which was first levied in September 2003, was only meant for the Rs. 3125 crore MUTP-I project.
Thereafter, it was decided that 16% and 24% additional surcharge would be levied in 2006 and 2009 respectively.
However, while sanctioning MUTP-II in 2008, instead of hiking the surcharge, government chose to extend the period for which it was supposed to be charged, from 2020 to 2030.
“Due to the triple hike in MUTP surcharge, the Railways expects to collect more than Rs160 crore annually,” said an official.