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Partial Roll Back Of Fare Hike In Suburban, 2nd Class Travel

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Bowing to pressure from within and allies, the Railways on Tuesday (24 June) partially rolled back some of its stiff proposals by exempting second class suburban travel upto 80 km from the 14.2 per cent hike in fares and reduced the severity of hike for monthly season ticket-holders.

In reliefs that will mainly benefit lakhs of daily commuters mainly in metros and other big cities, the Railway Ministry announced that last week's across-the-board hike of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares will not apply to second class suburban journey upto 80 kms.

"There shall be no increase in second class suburban ordinary fare upto 80 kms," a Railway notification said.

The revised order also said the fare hike in the unreserved segment shall come into force from June 28 as against June 25 when the increase will be implemented otherwise.

The Railways also gave some relief to monthly passholders by reverting to 15 the number of trips for which they will have to pay for travelling unlimited times in a month.

However, the hike of 14.2 per cent in the fares will apply to the MST.

Under the revised order today, the increase in the fares of monthly season tickets for upto 5 km will come down by Rs 50 from Rs 150 to Rs 100 as compared to the June 20 revision.

For a distance upto 150 km, the benefit will be Rs 520 as compared to the proposed hike announced on June 20.

While announcing the across-the-board hike last week, the Railways had doubled the number of trips for which the commuters had to pay, which was 30 trips.

Today's partial roll back came hours after MPs belonging to BJP and Shiv Sena from Maharashtra met Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and demanded a roll back in the hike specially the one relating to commuters that would put a severe strain on Mumbai suburban passengers. Maharashtra is scheduled to go to assembly elections later this year.

Yesterday, the Shiv Sena had made a strong criticism of the fare hike saying BJP had attacked similar decisions of the UPA government and "is this the good days that BJP had been talking about?"

Cash-strapped railways had announced on June 20 an increase of 14.2 per cent in passenger fares and 6.5 per cent in freight rates, just three weeks before the presentation of the rail budget. The revised rates will come into effect from tomorrow.

An official release later said the revised order has changed the way the fare for monthly season tickets (MSTs) was to be calculated.

In the existing system, the MST is 17-15 times the value of a single journey ticket for the same distance slab whereas the circular indicated that MST fare would be now equivalent to 30 single journey fare for the same distance slab.

Inclusive of the 10 per cent fare hike and 4.2 per fuel adjustment cost (FAC), the new MST fares ranged 1.7 times to 3.5 times of the old MST fare.

Despite the fact that MSTs are highly subsidized, the Ministry has now decided to modify the fair revision circular and hence a decision has been taken to increase the cost of existing MST fare by only 14.2 per cent inclusive of FAC, that is, the Monthly Season Tickets for both suburban and non-suburban shall now be charged at 14.2 per cent over the existing rates rounded off.