Echoing the sentiment of railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Central Railway (CR) officials, on Wednesday, said that hiking suburban railway fares is a must to improve the quality of services.
“The services have scope for improvement. Increasing the fares for passenger services such as long, short, medium, suburban, non-suburban in both upper as well the general class will ensure better services,” said a senior railway official, on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The suburban fares were hiked last in the 2002-2003 budget. Though a hike of 2 paise/km was proposed this year, it was eventually rolled back by the then railways minister Mukul Roy.
Moreover, after the hike in autorickshaw and taxi fares, most commuters prefer taking a train, even for short-distance travel.
“The four men who got pushed off the train at Sion, recently, too, were travelling between Kurla and Dadar,” said the official.
“The current minimum suburban ticket fare is Rs4. We need to hike it at least by Rs 6 to facilitate infrastructure development,” said another senior official.
Objecting to the idea, Deepak Gandhi, president, Mumbai Suburban Railway Passenger Association, said, “The railways have obtained new rakes and tracks under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project I and II. Instead of imposing a fare hike, the railways should plan to use the equipment effectively.”