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Friday, December 21, 2012

2nd class local travellers from Churchgate to Virar to pay 14% more, 1st class only 3%

Distant Suburbs Residents Crib about Steepest Surcharge

    Aday after the announcement that Mumbaikars will have to pay more for travel by local trains in the new year, back-of-envelope calculations threw up an interesting quirk of pricing while voices rose from a section of commuters about what they perceived as unfair treatment. 
    From January 1, tickets for journeys beyond 10km will cost Rs 2-4 more thanks to the hike in surcharge, meant to bankroll World Bank loans for railways projects. 
    In percentage terms, it appears second class passengers will have to pay much more than first class travellers, who had to loosen their purse strings earlier in the year when fares were increased by Rs 4-14 and a service tax of 3.7% was slapped on the fare. 

    For instance, a card ticket for a journey between Churchgate and Dadar will now cost Rs 8 as against the existing Rs 6 by second class and Rs 64 compared to Rs 60 by first class. It means an increase of 6.7% in first class but a hike of almost 33% in second class. 
    Even for a longer journey of 60 km, the trend is the same be it a daily ticket or monthly or quarterly passes. Between Churchgate and Virar, a second class ticket will cost 14% more as a commuter will have to pay Rs 16 against the existing Rs 14. For the same distance, the first class fare hike is a mere 3% as the ticket will go up from Rs 144 to Rs 150. 

    While first class regulars can take cold comfort, people living in the far northern suburbs like Ambernath, most likely because of unaffordable housing in the city and its contiguous suburbs, are getting all hot under the collar as they will end up paying the steepest surcharges. Sentiments are wrought, considering they get the most modest services. 
    Shyam Pandya, a Mira Road resident said, "The formula devis
ed to levy surcharge is not practical. I feel that the longer one travels in a suburban train, the lesser should be the surcharge." 
    Rajesh Sawant, another com
muter, added: "Those staying in the extended suburbs have a tough time getting on to a train because services to these parts are fewer. For example, it is much easier for a person to travel by train from Thane or Kurla as compared to those from Ambernath or Diva." 
    But a sizeable section of travellers did not mind paying a bit more for better travel. Sachin More, a Mulund resident, said: "I do not mind paying a higher fare as the money is being use to improve our travel needs. I think the railway fare is really low compared to taxi/auto or even BEST fare." Some like Subash Gupta of the Rail Yatri Sangh felt a surcharge hike would have been justified only after the work was completed. 

15-car rakes to halt at Mumbai Central 
Mumbai: All six 15-car trains plying on Western Railway will halt at Mumbai Central station in both Up and Down directions from December 22. Currently, these rakes do not halt between Churchgate and Dadar as platforms are not long enough. WR, which introduced 15-car services in 2009, initially ran the trains only between Dadar and Virar. The services were extended to Churchgate in January 28 after extension of platform No. 3 and 4. — Manthan Mehta


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