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Posted on Dec 22, 08:51AM | UNI
The city's suburban train commuters, used to seeing virtually no upward revision in ticket rates over the years, will finally have to brace themselves for a hike from January 1, next year.
The Railways have decided to increase the ticket surcharge in order to fund the repayment of a loan taken from the World Bank for the rail component of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The increase in surcharge, in some cases thrice as much as the present surcharge, could translate into a hike of Rs 2 to Rs 4 on tickets.
As per an understanding between the state government and the Railways, the surcharge was to be imposed in three phases in 2003, 2006 and 2009. The first surcharge was imposed in September 2003, from which the revenue earned is Rs 80 crore per annum. Thereafter, however, the railways decided against levying a surcharge because of political considerations. Now finally the fares are set to go up, "It was decided to increase the surcharge after the completion of the winter session of Parliament," sources said. Thus, the Railway Board sent an official communication to Central Railway and Western Railway on Tuesday after Parliament concluded.
On account of the surcharge, a one-way journey of between 10 and 50 km will increase by Rs 4 for first-class travel and Rs 2 for second class. The fare for a monthly season ticket will vary according to the distance-there will be no surcharge for the first 10 km but for the next slab of 11-50 km, the monthly season ticket (MST) could increase by Rs 40 for first class and Rs 20 for second class.
A quarterly season ticket (QST) is likely to increase by Rs 120 and Rs 60 for first class and second class respectively.
For example, a first-class monthly season ticket between Churchgate and Borivali or CST and Thane, a distance of around 35 km, will now cost Rs 640 as against Rs 600. For a quarterly season ticket (QST), the fare is likely to be Rs 1,745 as against the earlier Rs 1,625.
For the next slab of between 51 km and 100 km, an MST is likely to increase by 60 and Rs 30 respectively for first class and second class while a QST could increase by 180 for first class and Rs 90 for second class. According to a senior railway official, the revenue earned by the railways through the surcharge will be to the tune of Rs 160 crore per year.