Donít mind fare hike but want better services, say passengers

Railway passengers and commuter groups have said that they don't mind fare hike as long as it paves way for modernisation of services, improvement in standards of hygiene, better security features and speedy execution of pending projects.

On Wednesday, Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced an across-the-board hike in fares of all classes which will be implemented from January 21 onward.

According to the announcement, travel by sleeper class will be costlier by 6 paise per km, AC chair car by 10 paise per km, AC 3-tier by 10 paise per km. Similarly, fares of AC 2-tier and AC first class which were hiked in last Budget have further been hiked by 6 paisa per km and 3 paisa per km.

Harsha Shah, president of Railway Pravasi Group said, "The fare hike was necessary and we welcome it as it' s for the first time the fare has been increased in the last nine years. However, the Railways should also make sure the additional money be used for giving passenger additional and better facilities."

K Harinarayan, president of World Malayali Council and PR Team chief of Pune Malayali Federation (PMF) said, "The hike is justified, but the railway should also improve services. First of all they should fix the ticketing system including the chaos that the tatkal issuance has become. They also need to do a lot of work to improve the level of hygiene in the trains and station areas as passengers spend a lot of time there while travelling. The current level of cleanliness is horrible." Harinarayan added that his organisation will also press for making the biweekly Pune-Trivandrum service to daily.

Pavan More, a student said that though he felt that implemented by Railways was steep, he wouldn' t mind paying higher fares if he the higher fare means better amenities. "The Pune station should get escalators and additional overbridges. It' s a long pending demand and no steps have been taken on these proposals so far. There is also a need of speeding up the work of installing water-less toilets in trains and increasing the number of general compartments with a better design."

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