The “slightly high fares” for short-distance passenger trains are only to discourage unnecessary travel, said Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways on Wednesday. Since the COVID-19 pandemic-triggered lockdown was eased, the national transporter is running only special trains.
According to a PTI report, it started with long-distance passenger trains and now, even short-distance passenger trains are being operated as special train services. As a special provision in view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the fares of these trains have been fixed at par with mail and express trains’ unreserved ticket price, for the same distance. Indian Railways had stopped the operations of regular trains on 22 March 2020 and is constantly increasing the number of passenger trains in a graded manner.
The full restoration of the regular passenger train services to the pre-pandemic times is to be considered by Indian Railways, keeping in view a range of factors as well as operational circumstances. At present, the national transporter has operationalized almost 65% of the mail and express trains as well as over 90% of the suburban train services as compared to the pre-covid lockdown times. The Railway Ministry said that COVID-19 is still around and in fact, in some states, the condition is worsening.
Visitors and travellers from various states are being subjected to screening in other areas as well as discouraged to travel. The little fare hike is to be seen as a pro-active measure of the national transporter to prevent crowding in trains and stop novel coronavirus from spreading, the ministry stated.