The last decision of the Congress will leave a sour taste. The Railway ministry has increased fares by 14.2% for all classes of passenger services. Season tickets for suburban trains (like in Mumbai) go up from 15 days of fare to 25 days of fare.
From the release:
A flat 10% increase in all classes. There will be no increase upto minimum distance for charge. In addition there will be an increase of 4.2% in fares on account of FAC which is due from April 2014.
· Second Class Monthly Season Ticket (MST) fares of Suburban and Non-suburban shall be charged on the basis of 25 single journeys instead of approximately 15 single journeys. Fares of First Class Monthly Season Tickets will be charged @ 4 times the Second Class Monthly Season Tickets (MST) Fares as is done presently. Revised fare shall also be applicable as per the existing method of computation on Quarterly Season Tickets (QST), Half Yearly Season Tickets (HST) and Yearly Season Tickets (YST), etc. these revisions have been shown in the Season Ticket Fare Tables.
This applies from 20 May 2014. Freight rates go up 6.4% as well.
These changes also apply for tickets already booked, for travel after 20 May. The excess will have to be paid when travelling.
It’s not entirely clear why this government - for whom today would be the last day in power - would take such a decision. Is it to spite the country for giving it less than 50 seats? Is it to spite the next government who will have to deal with the consequences?
Whatever it is, this is rotten politics. Sure, the railways probably needs the revenue. But the hike should have been left to the next government.
Update: Alert reader Bhushan points out that this has now been deferred. Small mercies.