New Delhi: Travelling in trains could soon burn a hole in your pocket. If the Railway Ministry's proposals receive cabinet approval, not only passengers boarding trains but even those getting down after a journey would have to shell out a user fee over and above the ticket prices.
Also, if you are entering a station to drop off or receive a friend or relative, you may have to pay a visitor fee over and above the platform ticket.
The cash-strapped Railway Ministry is planning to levy user fees to raise funds to redevelop 50 stations under the PPP mode.
As per these proposals, passengers of all categories would have to pay user fees. Commuters in the unreserved category will have to pay Rs 10 to board a train; passengers in the non-AC reserved category will have to pay Rs 25; passengers in the high-end reserved AC category will have to pay Rs 50.
For passengers getting off a train, the user fee would be 50 per cent of the rates mentioned above.
Apart from this, a visitor fee of Rs 10 would be levied on people buying a platform tickets.
All these charges are without GST and will be subject to upward revision every five years.
Considering the fact that the New Delhi railway station has a daily footfall of five lakh passengers, even if on an average of roughly Rs 50 is charged per passenger, then the revenue for Indian Railways could be in the range of Rs 2.5 crore.
As we reported on July 24, the Railway Ministry has sought the Finance Ministry’s urgent intervention as it is not able to meet its pension expenditure of Rs 53,000 crore for the current fiscal.
Even passengers using suburban trains daily would have to shell out a user charge on tickets. These would be levied on suburban passenger tickets at Rs 3 per journey in monthly season tickets.
A panel of secretaries has suggested these charges as a way to refurbish railway stations.
The proposal of levying user charges is likely to be sent to the Union Cabinet for approval soon, sources in the know indicated.
Sources further said the user fee is likely to be uniform at all stations that are to be developed.
The Railway Ministry had earlier this month indicated that it would be levying user charges at only 10-15 per cent of the total 7,000 stations across the country.
It had further said that these charges would be levied at stations which have been developed or would be redeveloped under the PPP model, and also those stations which are likely to witness heavy footfalls in the next five years.
Further, sources informed that if stations are being developed under the PPP mode, then these user charges would be payable to the concessionaire only from the date of successful commissioning of the redevelopment work....