New Delhi: Issuing clarification with regard to charging extra fares from train passengers, the Indian Railways has stated that it has taken special care about the train journey by those travelling by lowest fare in trains so that even in times of Covid pandemic, passengers bear the least burden.
Rubbishing reports in some section of media that Railways has been charging extra fares from passengers, the Railways said that such reports are misleading and not based on all the facts.
Festival or 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 in many sectors on which the festival trains were running. These festival trains have been continued to clear the rush.
The fare for such trains has been kept little higher since 2015, and NOTHING NEW is being done this year. This is an established practice.
It may be noted that passenger operations have always been subsidized by Railways, and it bears loss for travel by passenger. The Railways has been running trains in Covid times in most challenging circumstances, with low occupancy in many sections and is still operating in public welfare.
This apart, the 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.
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 per cent of the passengers have travelled in 2S class in much better travelling conditions than pre-Covid, unreserved travelling situations. As per the policy, 2S passengers, even in special fare case are NOT charged more than additional Rs 15.
Indian Railways is 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.
Indian Railways had to stop running of regular trains due to Covid related nationwide lockdown on March 22, 2020, as a measure to counter the spread of coronavirus. Trains are being added in a graded manner.
Even during challenging times of Covid, Indian Railways has operationalized almost 60 per cent of the Mail/Express trains as compared to the pre lockdown times. 77 per cent of these special trains have fares similar to regular trains. Around 250 trains daily are running as trains with special fares.
A total of 1058 Mail/Express, 4807 suburban services and 188 passenger trains are presently in operation average on a daily basis.
Health situation of States, views of the State Governments, etc will also be taken into account before kicking off normal operations. For the convenience of passengers, many trains are being run in spite of low occupancy. The number of special trains has constantly increased in a graded manner. The situation is being constantly monitored, stated the Railway Ministry.