Mumbaiites can expect a hike in train fares soon. The railway ministry is considering an increase of around 8–12%, which means the minimum fare could go up by at least a rupee — from Rs 4 to Rs 5.
The hike in both suburban and long-distance fares could come into effect within two or three months. The last railway fare hike was eight years ago.
The railway ministry has been considering a proposal to increase ticket fares for a while now. The Railway Board, a unified body that manages the railways, has already cleared the proposal.
The move will affect 70 lakh people in Mumbai and neighbouring cities, who use the suburban train service. The hike will also affect season tickets.
The ministry is considering hiking fares before the 2012-13 Railway Budget, sources said. The last fare hike was in 2002-03, but three years later, the then Union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav reduced the minimum fare by Re 1.
Although railway officials had been hoping for a fare hike in this year’s Railway Budget, the then Union Railway minister Mamata Banerjee resisted it.
“Hiking train fares is much-needed as over the years there has been a rise in input costs such as fuel and electricity. The decision to hike fares got a boost after the recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG),” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity, as the proposal is still with the railway ministry.
The CAG had criticised the ministry saying they needed to reconsider their passenger fare structure.