New Delhi, Dec 7: Train fare along with platform tickets for a few identified stations will witness an affordable hike as the Railways is firming up proposals to levy user development fee.
According to the action plan, the Railways would seek the Cabinet approval for levying user fee ranging between Rs 10 and Rs 50 on over 100 stations including New Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai.
Since the tender processes for the redevelopment of many stations is underway and the user fee would be part of the financial bidding document, the decision is crucial for expediting the project.
While the RFQ for redevelopment of CST and New Delhi are closing in the December 15 and 18 respectively, other stations including Tirupati, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Nellore, Puducherry, Dehradun and Gwalior are awaiting the user fee decision to enter the request for proposal stage.
Besides, many other stations across the country are also in the process of finalising bids for the proposed redevelopment.
The aim is to levy an affordable minimum user fee on selected stations so that rail users do not feel the burden, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the station redevelopment project.
Though there are about 7000 stations operational in the Indian rail network, only 123 stations would be covered under the user fee plan in the first phase.
Though it would take some time for these rail premises to be redeveloped with world class amenities, the immediate effect will reflect in the prices of platform tickets at these shortlisted stations. A platform ticket is likely to cost Rs 20 instead of Rs 10, the current price.
Train tickets for these stations are also expected to cost more once the decision comes into effect. While the maximum Rs 50 is slated to be levied on AC first class, the minimum Rs 10 proposed to be added on platform tickets.
The station redevelopment project envisages Rs 50,000 crore worth of investment from private players, and the Railways is keen to push the scheme by making it attractive for the market.
The Cabinet decision would pave the way for levying user fees in a phase-wise manner.
The fee will vary from Sleeper to AC tickets, and has been kept to a minimum, the official said.
The Railways maintain that user charges are essentially a token amount which, after having been collected, will be ploughed back into the improvement of conveniences and facilities for all passengers.
The earlier proposal was to levy a user fee once station redevelopment was complete but with the Railway’s finances in stress, the measure is expected to raise funds for the upgradation of passenger amenities.