Thursday, 02 February 2023

Railways to restart regular train service with pre covid fares

Railways to restart regular train service with pre covid fares

After 20 months of pandemic disrupted operations, the Indian Railways said it would resume regular trains with pre-COVID fares on Friday.

The national carrier said.

“Railways Ministry have decided that all regular Time Tabled Trains which are presently operating as [Mail/Express Special] MSPC and [Holiday Special] HSP train services shall be operated with regular numbers and with fare and categorization as applicable,”

The Railways had stopped passengers services in March last year due to pandemic, gradually resuming services from May 2020 onwards in a step-by-step manner. However, most of the resumed trains were running as ‘special trains’ for which ticket prices were high than regular trains, without concession for senior citizens. The number of train numbers starts with the ‘0’.

After the extended COVID lockdown in March/April 2020, the Ministry of Railways announced the operation of special trains to ease the movement of helpless passengers across the nation, While amenities such as catering services, pillows, linen, etc. were withdrawn given the pandemic situation, the railways charged over and above the regular fares on these trains.

For instance, a passenger traveling in Sleeper Class on Mail and Express trains had to pay ₹20 extra for no more benefit on the train. In addition, a majority of the rail travel concessions offered to various passengers, including senior citizens, were withdrawn on special trains. The special trains with extra charge came into operation on May 1, 2020,

The operations of COVID special trains had called up sharp criticism from passengers, rights activists, and others who probe the rationale behind charging extra fare with no additional benefit.

Read More: Central and Western railway stop daily tickets for Mumbai trains

He said.

The largest employees union of the Railways criticized the Railway management for re-numbering regular trains, categorizing them as special trains, and charging extra. The increase in long-distance trains was even higher where the passengers were charged in the name of Festival Special Trains,

On Friday letter wrote to the Principal Chief Commercial Managers; the Railways added that for tickets booked in advance, no fare difference either to be collected by Railways or any refund due to already booked passengers will be permitted.

It added.

“Second class of such trains shall continue to run as reserved except any relaxation permitted in special case,”

However, a Railways spokesperson added that COVID-related restrictions such as not providing linens would continue.

The (CRIS) Centre for Railway Information Systems has been asked to make necessary changes in the software to reflect the changes. Additionally, each zonal railway has been directed to make sure that basic settings are made to make the details are available to all the concerned employees well in advance, and essential changes are made in the database.

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