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From 2011, costlier train tickets

Your local suburban train ticket will be more expensive from 2011, reports Shashank Rao.

mumbai Updated: Oct 10, 2009 01:30 IST
Shashank Rao

Your local suburban train ticket will be more expensive from 2011.

This planned hike is meant to offset the Rs 200 crore loss the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has suffered in its implementation of phase 1 of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP).

As part of the MUTP, the MRVC and the railways have introduced newer locals, widened tracks at various locations, and added new lines between Borivli and Virar, and beyond Thane.

“It’s been a long time since ticket prices were increased,” said P.C. Sehgal, chairman, MRVC. In 2006-07, then Union Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had reduced fares by a rupee.

Commuters in the city have already paid, in the form of the surcharge on their tickets, Rs 80 crore annually, which goes toward repaying the WB loan. The WB’s schedule on repayments suggested the surcharge on ticket prices, hiked in 2004 by 8 per cent, be doubled by September 2006, and tripled in 2009.

MRVC sources said letters have already been written to the railway ministry asking it to revise ticket rates, but observers say to comes down to mustering political will. Under the ongoing MUTP phase II, the railways are incurring a loss of Rs 650 crore. “If we are not able to recover money through ticket prices, it will be difficult to repay the Rs 1,900 crore loan on phase II,” said the MRVC official.

The World Bank agreed with that view. “The agency that takes a loan from us needs to be self-sustainable since it needs to repay large sums as interest,” said World Bank team leader Huber Josserand.