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People wearing protective masks exit a railway station amid the spread of the coronavirus disease in Mumbai (Reuters)
People wearing protective masks exit a railway station amid the spread of the coronavirus disease in Mumbai (Reuters)

Despite Covid, no extra fares being charged from passengers, clarifies Indian Railways

  • Despite low occupancy, Railways has been running trains in Covid times and operating in public welfare, says govt
  • Even in special fare case, passengers in Sleeper class are not being charged more than 15, says the national transporter

New Delhi: Government on Thursday quashed media reports suggesting Indian Railways has been charging extra fares from passengers. Government said these reports are "misleading and not based on all the facts".

"Festival / Holiday special trains were started as per the long standing practice to clear the rush. Festivals have been continuing and even today the harvest festival is being celebrated. This year there has been pent up demand on many sectors on which the festival trains were running. These festival trains have been continued to clear the rush," said Ministry of Railways in an official statement.

"The fare for such trains has been kept little higher since 2015. NOTHING NEW (sic) is being done this year. This is an established practice," the ministry added.

"It may be noted that passenger operations have always been subsidized by railways. Railways bears loss for travel by passenger. Railways has been running trains in covid times in most challenging circumstances. Running in low occupancy in many sections and still operating in public welfare. Not only this, Railways has taken special care about the travel by those travelling by lowest fare in trains so that even in Covid times they bear the least burden," the ministry said further.

"In all the trains that are being run, besides other classes, the trains have large number of 2S class coaches which has the lowest fare in the reserved category. 40 % of the passengers have travelled in 2S class in much better traveling conditions than pre covid, unreserved travelling situations. As per the policy, 2S passengers, even in special fare case are NOT charged more than additional 15," the ministry said.

Indian Railways has been constantly increasing the number of trains in a graded manner. Full restoration of regular services of passenger trains, to pre-covid times, is to be considered keeping in view a range of factors and operational circumstances, it said.

Indian Railways had to stop running of regular trains due to Covid-related nationwide lockdown on 22 March, 2020 as measure to counter the spread of coronavirus and trains are being added in a graded manner.

"Even during challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 60 % of the Mail/Express trains as compared to the pre-lockdown times. 77% of these special trains have fares of regular trains. Around 250 trains daily are running as trains with special fares," the ministry said.

Total 1,058 Mail/Express, 4,807 suburban services and 188 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.

Many trains are being run in spite of low occupancy for the benefit of people, the national transporter said.

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