Railways may decide on passenger fare hike in October

A decision on a possible hike in passenger fares will be taken by the Railways in October, when it will review the fuel adjustment component (FAC) in the wake of rising fuel and energy costs.

While the freight rate will go up by about 5.7 per cent from April 1 due to the linking of the FAC to the freight tariff, the Railways will examine its applicability in its passenger services in October this year.

“There is a policy now and the FAC is linked with energy and fuel prices and calculated accordingly,” Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal said at a conference.

Passenger fares could go up by 2 to 3 per cent if the FAC is linked to the basic fare in passenger services in October.

“The FAC will be reviewed after six months for both freight and passenger fares. Whether the FAC will be reduced or increased, it will be examined in October and a decision will be taken only then,” he said, adding, “by that time, the Rail Tariff Authority is also expected to be constituted.”

The Rail Tariff Authority, the first of its kind for the Railways, will suggest the level of tariffs for both freight and passenger services from time to time, taking into account input costs and market conditions.

Mr Mittal said currently the RTA is in the inter-ministerial consultation stage and a Cabinet note will be prepared for it shortly.

“The FAC for passenger and freight are calculated separately. While we decided to link the FAC with freight tariff from April 1, we absorbed the increased fuel cost of Rs. 800 crore and did not hike passenger fares,” he said.

“Since we raised the passenger fare in January we did not consider it again, and the FAC was implemented for freight only,” he said.

Asked repeatedly whether or not the FAC will be imposed in October, Mr Mittal, however, said “I am not in a position to say that now because it will be reviewed and then a decision will be

The FAC, which takes into account both electricity and diesel costs, is about 16 to 17 per cent of the total expenditure. There is a 39 per cent hike in fuel cost and an 8 per cent energy hike till January 2013 from April 2012.

Mr Mittal also said that the Railways is focusing on fiscal discipline by curbing expenditure.

Referring to passenger amenities, he said measures are being taken to bring down the accident rate and improving passenger amenities at rail premises.


Highlights of Indian Railway Budget speech 2013

Presenting his maiden railway budget, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday announced a slew of passenger-friendly measures including better e-ticketing facilities and no rail fare hikes.

Here is a look at the key highlights of his Rail Budget speech:
Thrust 1. Safety; 2. Consolidation; 3. Passenger Amenities; 4. Fiscal Discipline.

Some Achievements/Initiatives

> IR enters the one billion tonne Select Club joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways;

> IR also joins Select Club running freight trains of more than 10000 tonne load;

> ‘Fuel Adjustment Component’ concept to be implemented linking tariffs with movement of fuel prices;

&; Target of Rs 1000 crore each fixed for Rail Land Development Authority and IR Station Development Corporation to be raised through PPP in 2013-14;

> New fund – Debt Service Fund – to be set up to meet committed liabilities of debt servicing for WB and JICA loans for DFC and other future liabilities.

Measures for improving Safety & Security

> Making a Corporate Safety Plan for a ten year period (2014-2024).

> Elimination of 10797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and no addition of new LCs to the IR system henceforth.

> Introduction of Train Protection Warning System on Automatic Signalling Systems.

> Rigorous trials of the indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System.

> Using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail panels and improved flash butt welding technology.

> Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains.

> Induction of crash worthy LHB coaches with anti-climb feature.

> Rehabilitation of identified 17 distressed bridges over next one year.

> Provision of comprehensive fire and smoke detection systems.

> Provision of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains.

> Use of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.

> Measures initiated to deal with elephant related accidents.

> Four companies of women RPF personnel set up and another 8 to be set up to strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially women passengers.

> Recruitment to RPF with 10% vacancies reserved for women

Rail Based Industries

New factories/workshops to be set up:

> a new Forged Wheel Factory at Rae Bareli in collaboration with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited.

> a Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara (Rajasthan) in collaboration with State Government and BHELBSE -2.63 %.

> a Coach Manufacturing Unit in Sonepat District (Haryana) in collaboration with State Government.

> a Midlife Rehabilitation Workshop at Kurnool ( Andhra Pradesh) in collaboration with the State Government.

> Bikaner and Pratapgarh workshops to undertake POH of BG wagons.

> a workshop for repair and rehabilitation of motorized bogies at Misrod ( Madhya Pradesh).

> a new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi (Odisha).

> a modern signaling equipment facility at Chandigarh through PPP route.