New Delhi: The Railways addressed concerns raised over the increase in ticket fares for short-distance passenger trains, the national carrier said that the “slightly high fares” are only to discourage unnecessary travel.

The railways came under fire from daily commuters, who are feeling the pinch of the rise in the rail fares. However, as the coronavirus is still around and infact worsening in some states, visitors from many states are being subjected to screening and are discouraged to travel.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fares of these trains have been fixed at par with the price of unreserved tickets of mail and express trains for the same distance, a statement from the railway ministry said.

“Railways would like to inform that these slightly higher fares for passenger and other short distance trains had been introduced to discourage people from avoidable travels and those which are not most necessary. COVID-19 is still around and in fact, worsening in some states. Visitors from many states are being subjected to screening in other areas and discouraged to travel. Little higher price is to be seen as a pro-active measure of Railways to prevent crowding in trains and stop Covid from spreading,” the statement said.

A ticket from Amritsar to Pathankot now costs Rs 55 which was earlier priced at Rs 25. Similarly, a passenger DMU train ticket between the Jalandhar City railway station and Ferozpur costs Rs 60 now, while it used to cost Rs 30.

Since the lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus has been eased, the railways has been running only special trains. It started with long-distance trains and now, even short-distance passenger trains are plying as special trains.

“With a view to regulate rush at stations and in trains, passenger trains are being charged slightly more fare than pre-Covid times and a close watch is being kept on its patronisation. The situation is being constantly monitored to ensure restoration of services in keeping with the protocols necessary to be followed during Covid times,” the statement from the ministry said.

The passengers of the long-distance or mail and express trains that are being operated as special services are, however, paying 10 to 30 per cent higher fares since the services began post lockdown.

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