This Article is From Jun 23, 2014

How Mumbaikars Can Beat the Railway Fare Hike

How Mumbaikars Can Beat the Railway Fare Hike

Serpentine queues were seen across railway stations over the weekend. This was the scene at Mahalaxmi station yesterday.

Mumbai: The Railways may have dropped a bomb on local train commuters but, fortunately, its timer won't go off till Wednesday, June 25. This gives you two clear days today and tomorrow to jostle with a huge surge of your fellow commuters and get your hands on your season pass before it becomes worth its weight in gold.

Sample this: A Churchgate-Dahanu or Kasara-CST yearly first-class pass will cost you Rs 18,792 if you get it by tomorrow. Come Thursday, however, and the same pass will cost you Rs 41,688 or Rs 23,000 more (enough to buy an AC or a fancy smartphone).

Many commuters, and the Railways, have already figured this out. Saturday and Sunday saw serpentine queues at the ticket counters, with many deciding to switch from their monthly and quarterly season passes to the half-yearly and yearly ones. Some of them, in fact, had almost a month left for their passes to run out.

"On Saturday and Sunday, at least 50% more people had come down to renew their season passes. Many still had over 25 days remaining for their passes to expire," said a CR official.

Officials in WR said that the daily average of people buying half-yearly and yearly season passes is 100 and 50 respectively. On Saturday, 1,650 bought half-yearly passes and 1,450 people bought yearly ones.

In a desperate bid to safeguard its potential revenue, the Railways made an internal announcement for its ticket counter staff, asking them to calculate the existing fare until June 24 and then applying the new fare from June 25 while issuing season passes. It had to withdraw this directive, however, after the staff members themselves protested.

What to expect

Railway authorities are expecting heavy rush at counters on Monday and Tuesday as well. Officials said they are expecting a huge surge in the number of people buying passes and arrangements are being made by both Western and Central railways.

"We will keep most of the ticket windows operational," said Mukesh Nigam, divisional railway manager (Mumbai) of the Central Railway, which has nearly 840 ticket windows across its network.

"Wherever needed, extra ticket windows will be opened for season pass holders," said Shailendra Kumar, divisional railway manager (Mumbai) of the Western Railway, which has 560 ticket windows.

All staff members involved in issuance of tickets, checking tickets and other commercial duties at railway stations have been asked to remain present.