Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Wednesday announced a fare hike with effect from January 21-22 midnight. Addressing a press conference Bansal said that having hiked the railway fares now, the government will not increase the tariff in the budget.
This is the first railway fare hike in ten years. The new fares imply a 2 paise per kilometre increase in second class ordinary suburban tariffs.
The fare for second class non sub-urban travel has gone up by 3 paise per kilometre and that of sleeper class has been hiked by 6 paise per kilometre. Travelling in Air conditioned (AC) chair car and sleeper class will now be costlier by 10 paise per kilometre.
Justifying the hike, Bansal said, “Input costs have increased immensely while rail fares have remained stagnant. In fact there was a decrease in lower class fares. Given economic slowdown, we have not been able to so far achieve this year’s targets in either freight or fare side.” The hike was imperative, he said. Bansal, however was non committal on a freight tariff hike.
In the last railway budget, government hiked the fares only to roll them back, except for AC-1 and II passengers.